Enthusiasm grows for TLC
This past month marked a major milestone in the development of Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) system.
With full participation from every school district, Iowa has become the unrivaled national leader in tapping our greatest school-based resource – our teachers – to strengthen instruction and improve student learning.
Support and enthusiasm for TLC runs deep. Last month, the Iowa Department of Education hosted nearly 1,000 educators – including superintendents, principals, teachers and teacher leaders – from 175 school districts at the Launching Teacher Leadership event.
The purpose of this convening was to help districts transition from developing to implementing their local TLC plans. I had the opportunity to share nearly 50 examples from 22 school districts implementing meaningful changes through TLC that are leading to positive outcomes.
I fully anticipate these school districts will experience similar outcomes to what we’ve seen to date.
First, teachers feel their voice is being heard in new and important ways. They feel a greater ownership over decision-making, particularly as it relates to designing and delivering professional learning for their colleagues.
Second, those teachers taking on these roles feel energized and inspired. In turn, this enthusiasm is spreading throughout their buildings.
Third, new teachers are experiencing more support than they anticipated. In addition to having a mentor, they are taking ad-vantage of working with coaches and model teachers.
Finally, teachers are experiencing increased opportunities for collaboration and are engaging in data-driven conversations with their colleagues focused on student achievement.
In addition to each of these positive trends, teachers and administrators in all of the schools I’ve visited have also demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement.
The Iowa Department of Education shares this commitment. We’ve built a strong statewide network of support in partnership with the Area Education Agency system, School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa State Education Association, the Iowa Association of School Boards, higher education and others.
In addition, we will assist school districts in developing end-of-year reports to demonstrate the impact TLC is having at the local level. We have also contracted with the American Institutes of Research (AIR) to develop a third-party evaluation of TLC. We will use the results from these local and state-wide evaluations to strengthen the system.
As we prepare for full-implementation of TLC and as we transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act, we are at an important inflection point as an education system in Iowa. We have the opportunity to think boldly and craft a vision of success for all learners. Teacher leadership will be central to achieving this vision.
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