District Chosen for Teacher Leadership Funds

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The Cedar Rapids Community School District scored the highest among those applying for the funds.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District will be among the first group of Iowa school districts to launch teacher leadership systems next school year. The District scored the highest among those applying for the funds.

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 2014-15 and 39 were selected.

“We are elated that our Teacher Leadership and Compensation application was selected to be funded for the 2014-15 school year,” said Mary Ellen Maske, Deputy Superintendent. “The vision for our Teacher Leadership program is to provide teachers with multiple opportunities to hone their exceptional instructional skills and enhance student learning.”

A 26-member Advisory Committee composed of teachers, parents, community members, and students guided the process. Input was also gathered through two online surveys and via the District’s crowd sourcing site.

There are currently 268 teachers in paid leadership positions in the Cedar Rapids schools. State funds will provide compensation for an additional 614 to work as leaders. In the comprehensive plan, levels of leadership range from extra duty roles to full-release positions that fall into one of three levels:

  •   Level 1: Intensive coaching positions with 58 teacher leaders working innine  different part and full-time roles
  •   Level 2: Professional development and curriculum and technology roles with  141 teacher leaders working in 27 different part and full time roles and extra  duty roles.
  •   Level 3 – Building-based support roles with 683 teacher leaders working 10  different extra duty roles.

“We believe that competent, effective Teacher Leaders are the key to successful school improvement structures, processes, and initiatives,” added Maske.

Districts that applied were required to set a vision and goals for the teacher leadership system in their community. Requirements include setting a minimum salary of $33,500 for full-time teachers, providing intensive mentoring for new teachers, and adopting a rigorous selection process for applicants for teacher leadership roles.

Districts selected will receive about $309 per pupil next school year to implement their teacher leadership systems. The funds are based on 2012-13 school year enrollment and will result in approximately $5 million for the Cedar Rapids Community School District for the 2014-15 school year.

The next step for the District is implementing the plan as written. This includes a rigorous selection process, professional learning for the teacher leaders, and implementation of the program at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Across the state, teacher leadership systems will be phased in over the next three years, with the goal of all school districts participating by 2016-17, 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. Below is a list of all selected school districts, enrolling about one-third of Iowa students.

  • Benton
  • Bettendorf
  • Burlington
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Colo-NESCO
  • Council Bluffs
  • Davenport
  • Delwood
  • Dubuque
  • Earlham
  • East Marshall
  • East Union
  • Gilbert
  • Greene County
  • Hudson
  • Humboldt (in collaboration with Twin Rivers)
  • Johnston
  • Le Mars
  • Linn-Mar
  • Marshalltown
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Muscatine
  • North Polk
  • Norwalk
  • Oelwein
  • Ottumwa
  • Panorama
  • Pella
  • Rock Valley
  • Roland-Story
  • Saydel
  • Sioux City
  • Southeast Polk
  • Twin Rivers (in collaboration with Humboldt)
  • Van Meter
  • Waterloo
  • West Des Moines
  • Western Dubuque
  • Winterset
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