Just like a new school year promises to improve the lives of students, a new legislative session promises to improve the lives of all Iowans.

The “Building World-Class Schools for Iowa” reform package submitted to the legislature on Jan. 14 by Gov. Branstad is a sound plan that has promise to improve Iowa’s educational system. The focus is on teaching and learning, and improving teacher influence on the leadership of schools. I believe that schools need to improve school by school, and we need teacher-leadership for this improvement to happen in each school building in Iowa.

The reform also greatly focuses on instructional coaching. Northwest AEA has been practicing this model for nearly four years now, which could create a great advantage to the schools we serve because they have had a jump-start on how the model works. Northwest AEA implemented this model because research indicated that the biggest factor for improving student achievement is to enhance instructional practices in the classroom. This model brings support and best practices to educators and allows educators to collaborate and discuss the best strategies.

While there is promise in the reform package, there is also some uncertainty with funding and allowable growth. Iowa’s AEAs are doing what they can at the state level to educate legislators, the governor and the Department of Education regarding funding for reform efforts. We hope for a positive outcome.

As always, we hope our monthly blogs will inform, inspire and guide your daily work. Please check them out here:

For a complete listing of all blogs, please go to the Northwest AEA website. You can also sign up for an RSS feed to automatically receive blog updates (instructions provided on the Northwest AEA website).

Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator