Several southwest Iowa school districts hope to join Council Bluffs in launching a Teacher Leadership and Compensation System program next school year with the backing of the Iowa Department of Education. The Daily NonPareil reports, across Iowa, 39 schools are implementing TLC for the first year of its three-year phased launch, with Council Bluffs being the only area school district approved for the program for the 2014-15 school year.
Funding from the statewide initiative has paired new teachers with eight full-time mentors in the Council Bluffs Community School District, as well as adding model teachers, instructional coaches and curriculum specialists, all with the goal of classroom teachers stepping up into leadership positions. Funding for the first year is $50 million in state funds. Council Bluffs received about $2.8 million to launch its TLC program, which the district has said would cost an estimated $4.4 million in total, including 30 new positions.
To support those new roles, the Council Bluffs district brought in consultant Diane Sweeney to work with teacher leaders on how to effectively do their new jobs. To participate in the TLC program, districts must agree to pay a minimum of $33,500 for all full-time teachers, select teacher leaders using a committee, involve at least a quarter of its teachers in leadership roles, maintain teacher compensation levels the following year and apply the leadership program across all schools in the district.
Thirteen school districts in the Green Hills Area Education Agency applied for funding for the second year of the TLC grants. The Green Hills AEA spans districts in portions of 22 counties across southwest Iowa. Among the districts applying for funding by the Oct. 31 deadline were AHST, Atlantic, Glenwood, Griswold, Lewis Central, Red Oak and Underwood, according to Norgaard. Area school districts not seeking funding include Boyer Valley, East Mills, Fremont-Mills, Harlan, Logan-Magnolia, Missouri Valley, Riverside, Treynor, Tri-Center, West Harrison and Woodbine.
Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck, Deputy Director Ryan Wise, and Linda Fandel, special assistant for education to Gov. Terry Branstad will meet with teachers, administrators and others to find out what’s working and what needs improvement in the program. The state’s goal is to have all school districts voluntarily participating in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System by the 2016-17 school year. The program’s goals are to attract and retain quality teachers, promote collaboration, reward professional growth and improve student achievement.