As we approach the end of 2021, I’d like to take time to share my appreciation for the many school employees across the state who are helping to meet the needs of our students in Iowa, but most particularly, for our teachers.
Teaching is not a career found by chance. It is a challenge taken on by passionate, life-long learners who see opportunities in obstacles and inspire each next generation. Teachers are the anchors of our schools and I am humbled by their hearts, their talents and their commitment to the families and communities they serve.
Every achievement, every opportunity and even every obstacle is a stepping stone, moving us forward to an even better tomorrow. But to get to tomorrow, we must get through today, so I would like to highlight just a few of the many ways Iowa is moving forward.
In August, a task force of 24 members consisting of educators and members from various state agencies, educator support agencies and businesses met for the first time to address Iowa’s teacher talent pipeline and to discuss ways to grow a diverse PK-12 teacher base in Iowa. The work of this group will be shared in a final report, which is due to the Governor, Legislature and State Board on Dec. 15. The task force will be making several recommendations, including a proposed pathway for preparing diverse teachers. I look forward to sharing more information once the final report has been submitted.
As I travel across the state, I continue to see new and innovative ways that districts are addressing their local challenges and growing their own talent pipelines. One example comes from Sioux City. The district’s Sioux City Career Academy not only offers students an education career pathway, but they also offer internships to get high school students into an elementary or middle school classroom. The interest among their students is truly inspiring and I look forward to seeing how today's students will help shape tomorrow’s learners.
Next week, from Dec. 6-12, is National Computer Science Education Week. We look forward to seeing how you celebrate the week and hope that you will consider sharing your celebrations with us on social media by tagging #CS4I. I’m also delighted that the Technology Association of Iowa is hosting the first Computer Science Teacher of the Year Contest. Watch for more information soon about how to nominate teachers.
And, finally, in the next few weeks, we will have important updates on Iowa e-Learning Central, including the ability for schools to download courses and access to new resources for educators, students and families. Each course offering is aligned to the Iowa standards and schools can use the materials and resources for both online or in-person instruction. I am excited about this work and look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your continued dedication over the past two years and for showing students what is possible when we work together. I am grateful for the work you do and look forward to our continued journey in support of our students, families, communities and each other.