Iowa’s Investment in Teacher Leadership

On April 12, 2016, almost 1,000 teachers and administrators attended the third Launching Teaching Leadership Conference in Des Moines. Cohort 3 of the Teacher Leadership & Compensation (TLC) was officially launched. During the 2016-17 school year, Iowa will become the first state in the nation to have a statewide teacher leader program with a major investment of $150 million in teacher leadership. Most of these teacher leaders will either be instructional coaches, model teachers, mentor teachers, instructional strategists or intervention specialists. Iowa is hedging their bets that student achievement will increase by investing in teacher leaders, who will partner with classroom teachers and improve instruction.

Here at Northwest AEA, we started an instructional coach program back in 2009. It was a great idea then, but the AEAs did not have the capacity to bring it to fruition. Iowa’s TLC initiative and $150 million does provide the capacity for every school district to have teacher leaders.

Some have asked why we would place our bets on teacher leaders? In the past, teaching was an isolated activity without much collaboration and shared professional learning. What we have found is that when we engage teachers in collegial conversations that focus on best practices, the entire school and system improve. When teacher leaders PARTNER with classroom teachers, classroom instruction is impacted in a positive manner.

Northwest AEA plans to support teacher leaders and all teachers in the following way during the 2016-17 year: We will continue our instructional coaching series with Jim Knight and the KU Instructional Coach Model (The University of Kansas). Our tentative professional development support, which continues to evolve, can be found at this link. Other support will include APL Instruction to address Essential Elements of Instruction; Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI); additional teacher leadership and coaching with Steve Barkley; and Unlocking Complex Text in Writing with Lora Robb. Be sure to watch for other additions to our professional development schedule and sign up for these best practices, which can improve all teachers in Northwest AEA.

As always, be sure to check out our blogs, which we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work:

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