How do teacher leaders differ from the instructional coach positions?
Teacher leaders could be instructional coaches. Teacher leaders could also be another type of role, such as mentor teacher or a demonstration teacher.

The committee met today and began to identify teacher leader roles for the district’s proposed plan. This work will continue at its meeting next week.

The proposed roles will then be reviewed by focus groups of both secondary and elementary teachers, as well as parents, to gather feedback. There will also be an opportunity for all teachers to provide feedback.


Will there be teacher leaders in every elementary, junior high, 9th grade, and high school buildings?
Yes, the committee is looking at having teacher leaders at every level and at every building.


How many Teacher Leaders will be selected?
It’s too early in the process to know, but the state has provided guidance on this stating, “the district must demonstrate a good-faith effort of selecting at least 25 percent of the teacher workforce to serve in leadership roles.”

See the full Iowa Department of Education Guidance


Will there be an interview process in addition to an application?
An interview process is likely. The state has said that a district must have a rigorous selection process that includes:

  • “A selection committee that includes teachers and administrators to accept and review applications for assignment or reassignment to a teacher leadership role and to make recommendations regarding the applications to the superintendent.”
  • “Teachers assigned to a leadership role must have at least three years of teaching experience and at least one year of experience in the school district.”


What is the Teacher Leadership Committee?

  • It is a district-level committee.
  • It has approximately 19 members who represent teachers, the WDMEA, building-level administrators, district-level administrators, parents, and board members.


What is the Teacher Leadership Committee working on?

  • The committee is researching ways to offer our teachers the chance to take on leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities.
  • After conducting its research, the committee will select a model for how our district would provide instructional leadership opportunities for teachers.
  • The committee will also develop an implementation plan.


Why is the committee doing this work?

  • To improve student growth
  • To offer more career opportunities for our teachers
  • To support teachers
  • To strengthen instruction in our schools


What is the vision of this committee?

  • West Des Moines Community Schools will cultivate student growth by selecting excellent teachers to grow and share their expertise through enhanced career opportunities, using a clear and transparent system which fosters and compensates multiple teacher leadership roles. We will continue to recruit, mentor, and promote excellence for all staff and provide ongoing support for collective collaboration and professional learning.


How is this committee’s work being funded?

  • The district received funding through the state’s Teacher Leadership & Compensation Planning Grant. The purpose of this grant is to provide the resources necessary to facilitate a local planning process.
  • Accepting a planning grant does not commit a school district to adopting a teacher leadership system (the West Des Moines Community School District’s planning committee did decide to create a plan for a teacher leadership system).
  • In 2013, the Iowa Legislature appropriated $3.5 million for planning grants that each school district can use to support efforts to develop a local teacher leadership and compensation plan.
  • Each district requesting a planning grant will receive $5,000 plus $3.71 per student. The WDMCS received approximately $38,000.


Will staff be provided a chance to have input on the plan?

  • Yes. Staff will be provided with opportunities to give feedback on the plan as each draft is written.
  • Staff can also go to Submit A Question to submit questions or comments for the committee.


When would the plan be implemented?

  • To receive state funding for implementing a teacher leadership model, a plan is due to the Iowa Department of Education on January 30, 2014
  • The Iowa Department of Education will notify school districts if their plan is approved in March 2014.
  • If approved for funding, the plan will be implemented for the 2014-15 school year. School districts will be notified by March 2014 if their plan is approved.


How would the teacher leadership & compensation implementation be funded?

  • The state is offering  $50 million in funding for districts serving one-third of the students in Iowa to enter the system each year beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
  • The funding will be distributed on a per-pupil basis.
  • Beginning in fiscal year 2016, the Teacher Leadership Supplement (TLS) includes the supplemental state aid amount for the budget year. Districts are eligible to receive TLS funding when the district’s plan for teacher leadership is approved by the Department of Education.


When was the district Teacher Leadership Committee formed?

  • The committee was formed in August 2013.
  • The committee will continue to meet approximately once per week through January 2014.


Where can I go for more information on the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System?

Guidance on the Teacher Leadership & Compensation System (Iowa Department of Education)


With $6 million dollar cuts coming over the next two years, how can we justify spending additional money on this teacher leadership program?
The funding for the teacher leaders would not come from the general fund, which is the fund that covers the majority of the district’s operational costs and is currently being reviewed for budget cuts.

Learn more about district funds

Separate funding will be provided by the state specifically for implementing the teacher leadership model.

First, the district would apply to receive the Teacher Leadership and Compensation grant. If approved, the district would receive approximately $2.8 million.

After the first year, the $2.8 million funding would continue to be provided from the state as supplemental state aid. These state funds could only be used for the teacher leadership model.