Monday, March 3, 2014

Hudson Teacher Leadership and Compensation System Approved

I am very pleased to announce today that the Hudson Community School District is in the first group of Iowa school districts selected to launch teacher leadership systems next school year. Teacher leadership systems will allow teachers to work in greater collaboration with colleagues and school administrators to improve instruction and increase student achievement. Out of Iowa's 346 school districts, 146 applied to start teacher leadership systems in 2014-2015. Of those 146 districts, 39 were selected. The Hudson Community School District was one of three selected in AEA 267. 

Teacher leadership in Iowa is not only designed to elevate the teaching profession in Iowa, but will also strengthen instruction, which ultimately will have a profound effect on meeting our goal of ensuring a World Class Education for our students. I am exited not only by what this will do for our teachers locally, but the impact this will have on student achievement system wide.

Teacher leadership systems are the centerpiece of Iowa's historic 2013 education reform package. They stand to be the foundation for implementation of other state reforms, such as high academic standards. With higher expectations for all students today, it is critical to better support the complex work educators do.

These systems will be phase in over the next three years across Iowa, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-2017, although whether to do so is a local decision. The Commission on Teacher Leadership and Compensation recommended which districts should be in the first group. Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck made the final decision.

The model employed by the Hudson Community School District will include a blend of instructional coaches, model teachers, and mentor teachers. A key ingredient to our planning process was ensuring a strong connection to current district initiatives. Instructional coaches will focus on the content areas of math, literacy, and technology integration. These instructional coaches will collaborate with all teachers to develop professional development and research based instructional strategies designed to meet the needs of multiple learners in the classroom. As a full time instructional coach, these teacher leaders will partner with model teachers to test and pilot new instructional strategies and embed professional development into practice. Those strategies that hold the most promise will be taken to scale district wide with the assistance of model teachers, who continue to serve full time as classroom teachers. Finally, mentor teachers describe teacher leaders whose primary focus is to work with and help those new to the profession. All teacher leaders will receive stipends in exchange for taking on extra responsibilities.

Districts were required to set a vision and goals for the teacher leadership. You can read our vision right here. Specific requirements of all plans included setting a minimum salary of $33,500 for full-time teachers, providing intensive mentoring for new teachers, and adopting a rigorous selection process of applicants for teacher leadership roles.

Hudson will receive about $309 per pupil in extra funding next school year to implement our teacher leadership system. The annual cost statewide is nearly $50 million in FY15, growing to about $150 million annually in the third year. After the initial year of district implementation, the funding of teacher leadership rolls into the Iowa school finance formula.

The next step for us is to begin selecting teacher leaders. Governor Brandstad's FY15 budget recommendations include $4 million for the Iowa Department of Education, working with the Area Education Agencies to provide technical assistance and leadership development for all districts in the first group implementing teacher leadership systems in 2014-2015.

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