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Teacher Leader: Answers to a Few of Your Questions

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

As the Teacher Leadership Committee continues to research various teacher leadership models, several questions have come in from our “Submit a Question” form on the website.

All questions are being forwarded to the committee for review and consideration.

While the committee has not yet determined a model and does not yet have details, it can start addressing some of your questions.

Here are a few:

1. 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

 

2. 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.”

 

3. With 6 million dollar cuts coming over the next 2 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.

 

I have a question!

Please submit any questions, concerns or comments to our “Submit A Question” form. All submissions will be given to the Teacher Leadership Committee. Answers will be provided here and on the Teacher Leadership Committee Webpage.

Submit a Question

Teacher Leadership Committee Page

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Teacher Leadership Committee Update 11/18/13

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

What is the research?

The WDMCS Teacher Leadership Committee is studying the research behind teacher leadership and compensation systems. This not only includes reading studies, but also listening to experts in the area of teacher leadership and possibly visiting school districts that have implemented different models.

You can read along with us! The Iowa Department of Education has provided a variety of research materials online. Please see the link below to learn more.

Research/Resources

 

FAQ: Will teacher leaders be on an administrative contract or a teacher contract?

Those selected for a teacher leader position will be under the negotiated master contract for teachers. They will receive additional compensation for the extra time and duties they provide under the teacher leader model.

What does that look like? The committee—which includes members of the West Des Moines Education Association—will work to propose the roles and compensation amounts. Any element that relates to the contracted agreement will go through the negotiations process.

 

I have a question!

Please submit any questions, concerns or comments to our “Submit A Question” form. All submissions will be given to the Teacher Leadership Committee. Answers will be provided here and on the Teacher Leadership Committee Webpage.

Submit a Question

Teacher Leadership Committee Page

 

Teacher Leadership Committee

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Teacher Leadership Committee Hard at Work

Teacher Leader Update

Hard at Work

Members of the Teacher Leadership Committee met on Friday, Nov. 1 and on Tuesday, Nov. 5 to continue to:

  • review research about the different models of teacher leadership;
  • identify districts with teacher leadership models to visit in the state and the nation;
  • work in subgroups to begin preliminary development of the different parts of the implementation grant application.

The next committee meeting will be held on Nov. 15.

 

FAQ: How is this committee’s work being funded?

General Fund dollars are not used to fund this work. Instead, 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.

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.

 

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Teacher Leadership Committee Vision, Funding with Board

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

On Oct. 28, members of the district’s Teacher Leadership Committee presented an update to the School Board on the committee’s work to research ways to offer our teachers formal leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities.

The committee of 19 members representing teachers, the West Des Moines Education Association, administrators, parents and School Board members is developing a plan for a teacher leadership and compensation system. It will submit its plan by January 30, 2014 to the state to apply for a $2.8 million implementation grant.

The Vision

During the presentation, committee member and Crossroads Park teacher Brandon Hargens shared the committee’s vision with the Board:

“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.”

 Three Possible Models—We Choose No. 3

Hargens’ fellow committee member and Beginning Teacher and Mentor Coordinator Bill Bird explained that based on House File 215 approved in 2013 by the Iowa legislature, there are three possible models from which districts seeking the implementation grant can choose.

The committee chose to work on the Comparable Plan Model because it offers flexibility to school districts. The guidelines for this model are to have:

  • a minimum salary of $33,500;
  • for new teachers, additional coaching, mentoring and opportunities for observing instructional practice;
  • differentiated, multiple, meaningful teacher leadership roles;
  • rigorous selection process for leadership roles; and
  • aligned professional development.

Bird explained that the district already meets several of these requirements, with our starting salary, teacher mentor program, professional development and more.

Is it Sustainable?

Board members asked about the sustainability of state funding and the selection of teacher leaders.

WDMCS Associate Superintendent  Carol Seid said the district will receive $2.8 million if the state approves the district’s implementation grant application. The district would continue to receive this amount on an annual basis from the state as a “categorical fund.” A categorical fund is money from the state that is allocated for a specific purpose and must be used only for that purpose.

What if the state funding goes away? Interim Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said that while there is currently solid support for teacher leader systems, state funding is never a guarantee.

WDMEA representatives present indicated that they support pursuing a leadership system. WDMEA President Jas Overlin said that we as a district talk about being leaders; this work is one way to do that. Past WDMEA President Phil Peters said that it is in our best interest to come up with a plan that rewards teachers for taking on leadership roles.

Sustainability will be a consideration when developing the plan.

How will Teacher Leaders be Selected?

Seid said the state requires a rigorous selection process. Guidance documents say a selection committee must include, “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.”

Peters, who is a member of the committee, also noted that all elements of the teacher leadership system will have to go through the negotiations process.

Hitting the Road

Stilwell Junior High teacher Megan Thomsen said that in order to research various teacher leadership roles in the state and the nation, the committee will soon hit the road. Using funds from the state for research and planning, the committee is currently identifying places to visit to deepen and enrich its knowledge and understanding of various teacher leadership roles.

Teacher Leadership Committee

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District Recieves Teacher Leadership Planning Grant

The West Des Moines Community Schools has received $38,000 from the Iowa Department of Education to research ways to offer our teachers the opportunity to take on leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities.

In 2013, the Iowa Legislature appropriated a total of $3.5 million for planning grants that each school district in the state can use to support efforts to develop a local teacher leadership and compensation plan.The purpose of the 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 funds will be used by the district Teacher Leadership and Compensation Committee to conduct the research. For more information on the committee, please click on the link below.

Teacher Leadership Study

 

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Board Highlights from Oct. 14

Iowa Core & WDMCS

“What did you learn today?” is a common question parents ask their children after school. A good source for the answer is the Iowa Core. The Iowa Core outlines what students in our state should know, understand and be able to do in the areas of math, literacy, science and social studies. It also includes the 21st century skills of employability, financial, health, technology and civic literacy.

During a School Board workshop held Oct. 14, WDMCS Curriculum Directors Shane Scott and Steph Wilson provided an overview of the Iowa Core. They explained that the Iowa Core was signed into law in 2008 and must be fully implemented by school districts by 2014. For the past few years, teachers and the curriculum directors have been working to ensure our curriculum is aligned to the Iowa Core. Our curriculum already covered much of what is outlined in Iowa Core. However, one change that will need to be made is in the area of mathematics. Starting with7th graders, the district will teach statistics and probability to all students by the time they graduate. The district is currently developing a plan to include these concepts in Geometry and Algebra II courses. A proposal for this addition will be presented at the November 11 School Board workshop.

For more information on the Iowa Core, please visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website at www.educateiowa.gov/iowacore.

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website:

www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/meetings. Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

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Brennan, Brown to Lead School Board

The WDMCS Board of Education elected Elizabeth Brennan as its president and David Brown as its vice president on Sept. 23.

Elizabeth BrennanBrennan was re-elected to a second term as board member during the Sept. 10 school board elections. This is also her second term as president. She is a preschool teacher at Montessori Children’s House in West Des Moines. She graduated from Valley High School and St. Olaf College. She earned her elementary teaching degree, with an English as a Second Language endorsement, from the University of Iowa and her International Diploma in Early Childhood Montessori teaching from the Montessori Centre International in London. Brennan and her husband, Scott, have two children: Lexi is a senior at Valley and Joe is a sophomore at Valley.

David BrownDavid is vice president of compliance at Principal Financial Group. He is a graduate of Valley High School. David holds a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. He and his wife, Julie, have three children: Ross is a 2010 Valley graduate and a student at Dartmouth College; Keegan is a 2012 Valley graduate and a student at the University of Utah; and Chase is an eighth grader at Indian Hills. David has served on the board of directors of Youth Emergency Services & Shelter and on the board of directors of Hospice of Central Iowa. He is also a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website:

www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/meetings

Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

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Board Highlights from 9/9/13

Donation Helps Hungry WDMCS Students

A program that helps provide food to WDMCS students on the weekends received a $16,450 donation from the West Des Moines Community Celebration Committee during the Sept. 9 school board meeting.

Nearly one in three West Des Moines school district students are eligible for free or reduced meals at school.

The Booster Pak program is a non-profit organization that focuses on reducing childhood hunger in our school district by providing sacks of healthy, kid-friendly food to low-income children on weekends and school breaks, when they do not have access to the federal free and reduced price meal programs. There is no cost to the children or families that participate in the program.

The donation will allow the organization to reach more students in the junior high and high schools, where the program recently began providing food.  The organization partners with the Iowa Food Bank’s Backpack Buddies program to provide food to 550 students each week in our elementary schools. The Booster Pak program is the big brother to the Backpack Buddies and provides food to junior and senior high students. The Pak program serves more than 100 junior and senior students each week, and is expanding. A food and personal care pantry also serves these older students.

West Des Moines Community Celebration Committee is a non-profit committee of community members and City of West Des Moines personnel that sponsored A-MAY-Zing Days. The committee raised funds to promote and support community-wide events during the month of May and to support a West Des Moines community-based nonprofit.

To learn more about the Booster Pak program, please visit www.boosterpak.org.

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website:

www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/meetings

Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

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Walnut Creek Campus Boat Regatta Makes a Splash

Some may think ending up neck deep in water wearing a Scooby Doo costume would make for a bad day. Not Walnut Creek Campus Senior Crystal Howard of Urbandale.

Standing in her drenched costume on the shore of the West Des Moines City Campus pond, she proclaimed the first annual Walnut Creek Campus Boat Regatta was a lot of fun.

Howard was one of 120 Walnut Creek Campus students who participated the boat regatta Friday, Aug. 23. The event was the culmination of two days of learning about science and teamwork through project-based curriculum.

The Walnut Creek Campus advisory program is moving toward a project-based learning, which involves students working to solve real world problems.

“The Walnut Creek regatta is an idea that arose from this change in curriculum as a fun way to kick off our year that requires our advisories to work collaboratively for a common purpose,” Walnut Creek Campus Social Studies Teacher Ted Vandeventer explained.

The task was to successfully build and launch a cardboard boat around the fountain at the pond next to the Learning Resource Center.  Advisory teams worked together with just one refrigerator box and duct tape to build their vessel. 

To prepare for the task, students learned about boating, canoeing and the principles surrounding water displacement and buoyancy.  They started by building models of their crafts that they tested by weighting them with pennies.

The next step was to construct the real boat based on a blueprint advisory team members developed. Groups had to solve equations for the amount of water displaced and the depth with which the boat would sink.

They also had to come up with a theme. Crystal’s team was “The Mystery Machine” from the Scooby Doo cartoon series.

Students also had a session with West Des Moines Police Officer Terry Brauch, who provided Real Colors Personality training, which gave students a better understanding of their temperament and that of their teammates. It also gave them a common language to use in working collaboratively.

There were three trophies handed out at the regatta:

  • Fastest Boat went to Team Italia,  which included Sarah Beck (West Des Moines), Monica Haes (West Des Moines), Ian Kinney (West Des Moines), Kirk Phillips (West Des Moines),  Jesus Rodriguez (Des Moines), Hannah Short (West Des Moines), Michael Toomer (West Des Moines), Brent Watkins (Des Moines), Adrienne Wright (West Des Moines) and Jack Yungclas (West Des Moines).
  • Best Team Spirit went to Team Mustache, which included Mitch Fransen (Clive), Justin Christianson (Clive), Mary Holmes (West Des Moines), Emily Clausen (West Des Moines), Falken Wright (West Des Moines), Sam Renda (West Des Moines), Anthony Ross (West Des Moines), John Reszel (West Des Moines), Peter Palomeque (West Des Moines), Halil Becic (West Des Moines), Morgan Hubbard (West Des Moines) and Jair Mendez (Clive).
  • Most Creative Boat went to Team Zebra Cakes, which included  Jayden Bender (West Des Moines), Chelsea Button (Windsor Heights), Diego Carreras (West Des Moines), Abby Dunn (West Des Moines), Jenna Marks (West Des Moines), Adan Robles (West Des Moines) and Fransico Sanchez (West Des Moines).

Boat Math Video

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Board Highlights from Aug. 12

SCHOOL BOARD SETS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education has approved its priorities for education legislation for the Iowa legislature’s 2014 session. The priorities are:

  1. Provide a minimum of 4% Supplemental State Aid for the 2014-2015 school year to encourage continuous improvement and to better reflect actual cost increases experienced by school districts;
  2. Maintain at least the current funding level to sustain quality voluntary preschool programming;
  3. Hold the district harmless with respect to lost commercial property tax revenues due to last year’s passage of Property Tax Reform;
  4. Provide adequate funding to deliver the required special education programming for students.

The district will provide these priorities to the Iowa Association of School Boards, which advocates for school boards across Iowa.

BOARD APPROVES CONTINUATION OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVY

The School Board has approved continuing to participate in the Instruction Support Program. The program is a levy designed to provide school districts funds for instructional programing.

At its July 8, 2013 meeting, the Board began the process to renew and continue the levy for a five year period beginning on July 1, 2016. A public hearing was held on August 12, 2014, at which no objections to the levy were presented or filed.

The Instructional Support Program will generate $4,660,325 of revenue in the general fund for the 2013-14 school year.

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website
www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/meetings

Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

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