Integration is the Key for Teacher Leadership & Compensation (TLC) Success

During the month of March, the TLC teams will be announced across the state of Iowa. The following are my recommendations to those teams, as they plan their strategies to implement teacher leadership.

To be successful, I believe the process must be an integrated approach that incorporates the current initiatives in each school and district. This is an unprecedented opportunity to leverage current initiatives with support. This new leadership format must not be another layer of bureaucracy, telling teachers in the classroom what to do. It must be a partnership with classroom teachers that focuses on helping individual students achieve their potential.                  

To be successful, I believe the following steps need to occur:

  • Needs assessments:
    • Each school will need to assess their current initiatives
    • Identify the competencies of the leadership team and identify their strengths and weaknesses, so each team matches the professional development needed
    • Identify the student achievement focus areas that will make the biggest difference in student achievement based on individual school data
    • The needs assessment will provide for local control and will provide for differentiation for each school, and allow for buy-in
  • Analyze current professional development (PD):
    • Create your PD plan for the summer of 2014 for your leadership team
    • Create your PD plan for 2014-15 for your entire staff, individualizing the needs of the leadership team
    • Build capacity for the entire staff
    • Utilize statewide and AEA training and PD already in existence
  • Integrate the state reform efforts with your current initiatives:
    • Examples in Northwest AEA could be:
      • Peer Review – use AIW Teacher Collaboration
      • Peer Review – use Instructional Coaching (Jim Knight’s model)
      • Early Literacy – use FAST and IGDI
      • Early Literacy – use Reading Recovery and CIM training
      • Classroom Observations – use Instructional Rounds by Elmore
      • Classroom Strategies – use APL training, Essential Elements of Effective Teaching
      • Classroom Behavior – use Positive Behavior, Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
  • Identify specific instructional areas of need:
    • Identify Problems of Practice in individual buildings (Superintendents' Network and Elmore Project)
    • Analyze student data and focus on the lowest 25-40% for interventions (Multi-Tiered System of Support - MTSS)
    • Individualize and differentiate for students – the goal is to have an IEP for every student
    • Provide Iowa Core Deeper Investigations to all Leadership Team participants
  • Prevent Initiative Fatigue:
    • Three essential resources – need to consider all three:
      • Time
      • Money
      • Emotional energy – your staff can only focus on so many initiatives – choose wisely
  • Substantial support and help to the classroom teachers – focus on sustainability:
    • This new leadership structure should NOT be more people telling teachers what to do; instead, help them and support them in their classroom
    • Help students achieve at a higher level
    • Mobilize teachers to help teachers
    • Have consultants from the AEA helping teachers, and serving as part of the Leadership Team, similar to Child Find
    • Take a collaborative approach that forms partnerships with the leadership team and classroom teachers
  • Instructional Coaching as a partnership helping classroom teachers
  • Teacher collaboration stressed:
    • AIW – allow teachers to lead their own learning

These are some of the components that can make your TLC implementation effective, and help students achieve. Each individual school needs to be very cognizant of how this process works in each building. The Leadership Team members need to identify their needs and make choices that will work for their individual building. They can choose from an inventory of options provided statewide and in their AEA.

A word of caution: Remember to take your time, because the things you set up now will be incorporated in your practice for the foreseeable future. Be flexible enough to change your practices in the future. Northwest AEA is here to help you create and make your process flexible.

Good luck on this exciting opportunity to leverage the tools needed for your students to expand their learning!

PLCs at Northwest AEA
On another note, I would like to thank all of the employees at Northwest AEA who share their knowledge through their own Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). This month, we explore "RtI Birth to Five" by AEA employees Brenna Franken, Staci Gallup, Joan Hohl, Brenda Jenkins, Sue Moran, Laura Ocker, Anna Schmadeke and Julie Tucker.

To learn more, see the Northwest AEA PLC work here:

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Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator