DES MOINES– Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise today announced the next group of school districts chosen to launch local teacher leadership plans through Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System. Ninety-seven school districts have been added to the state system, bringing the total number of districts in the teacher leadership system to 295 (88 percent of Iowa districts).
“This system is about supporting teachers to do their best work so that our students can do their best work,” Wise said. “Students and schools today face higher expectations, and we must support the critical and complex work of teaching in order to improve instruction. We’re doing that through Iowa’s teacher leadership system, and it’s exciting that so many school districts share this commitment.”
Iowa’s teacher leadership system, which taps into the expertise of top teachers to improve classroom instruction and raise student achievement, is the centerpiece of Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds’ landmark education reform package passed by the Legislature in 2013. It is the nation’s most comprehensive teacher leadership system. About 25 percent of Iowa teachers will be in leadership roles when the system is fully phased in.
As of this fall, all 336 Iowa school districts had applied to join the teacher leadership system. The 97 newly accepted districts will implement their teacher leadership plans in the 2016-17 school year. The remaining 40 school districts will have an opportunity to refine and re-submit their plans for approval in the next two months. Wise said he is hopeful that all of Iowa’s school districts will join the teacher leadership system by the 2016-17 school year.
School districts in the teacher leadership system are at varying stages. Some are in their second year, while others are gearing up for participation.
A recent report on the first year of Iowa’s teacher leadership system found progress has been made toward each of the system’s five goals, including attracting new teachers, retaining effective teachers, promoting collaboration, rewarding professional growth and effective teaching, and improving student achievement. In addition, students in the first 39 participating school districts saw a jump in proficiency rates on state math and reading tests.
School districts are chosen for the system based on recommendations of the Commission on Educator Leadership and Compensation, which evaluates applications.
The teacher leadership system cost nearly $50 million in fiscal year 2015. That amount is expected to grow to about $150 million annually by fiscal year 2017, which would enable all districts to participate.
The 97 newly accepted districts are:
Estherville Lincoln Central
North Tama County
South Central Calhoun
South Tama County
Southeast Webster Grand