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State Selects WDMCS to Launch Teacher Leadership System

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

The West Des Moines Community Schools is one of 39 school districts selected to be the first in the state to launch a teacher leadership system in the 2014-15 school year.

Iowa Department of Education Announcement

 “This is exciting news for our district and for our teachers, who will now have increased opportunities for professional growth and leadership within the district,” said WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy. “Those who will benefit the most will be our students, as our teacher leaders help us move toward even greater student success.”

Remy thanked the members of the Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee for their outstanding work to develop the leadership system and for securing $2.8 million annually specifically designated for the system. “The teachers, administrators and community members on the committee were truly collaborative and innovative,” she said.

The district will start work to implement the system within the month, said WDMCS Interim Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid. “The outstanding efforts of our committee have set the framework and structure for the system, which we can now start to put in place. We are excited to move forward,” she added.

The Teacher Leadership & Compensation system offers our teachers the opportunity to take on leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities. The leadership roles include:

  • Building Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs and plans for building professional development. Works with the principal, district teacher leaders and teh central office to move improvement plans forward.
  • District Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs & plans for district professional development.
  • Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator: Serves on District Leadership Team and other district teams; assists with professional development planning and implementation
  • Instructional Coaches: Works with teachers to use evidenced-based instructional practices and strategies to increase student achievement.
  • Demonstration Teacher/Coordinator: Opens his/her door for observations of lessons, lesson planning, etc.
  • Mentor Teachers: Supports new teachers as they enter the profession, observe, meet and work together for two or more years
  • Mentor Coordinator: Observes, provides training opportunities and feedback to new teachers and mentors
  • Learning Supports/Coordinator/Family School Engagement Coordinator: Supports teacher to identify needs of at-risk students and families; collaboratively implements strategies for increased student achievement; provides strategies to teachers to effectively engage families for increased student growth.

 Teacher Leadership & Compensation Updates

Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee Webpage

 

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Teacher Leadership Application Endorsed, Submitted Jan. 31

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

On Monday, Jan. 27, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to formally endorse and support the district’s application for the state’s Teacher Leadership & Compensation grant.

School Board members and district administrators expressed their appreciation for the work of the district committee that developed the proposed teacher leadership and compensation structure and the application for state funding. The district could receive approximately $2.8 million annually.

The committee’s work included visiting other schools with teacher leader systems, reviewing research and gathering input from teachers, administrators and parents through focus groups, building-level meetings and an online form.

Members of the committee reviewed key elements of the application with the Board during a public workshop held on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

In addition to the School Board, the teacher’s union and a district parent group have also expressed support.

The district will submit its application to the state tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 31. The Iowa Department of Education will announce in early March which school districts have been approved to implement their Teacher Leadership and Compensation plans in the 2014-2015 school year.

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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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Updates

Meetings

Committee Members

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Teacher Leadership Committee

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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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