Education & Schools
Branstad, Reynolds, Glass propose reforms to ensure great teaching in every classroom to dramatically raise achievement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:28

(DES MOINES) - Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released an education reform package that will bring Iowa closer to its goal of providing a world-class education to all children, no matter where they live.


The package presented for the 2013 legislative session focuses on providing great teaching in every classroom to raise student achievement and to prepare Iowa’s children to compete for jobs in a competitive global economy.


“We have many good schools with committed educators, but they are stuck in a system designed for the 20th century, not the 21st century,” Branstad said. “I am ready to invest significant resources into these educational reforms, which truly have the power to dramatically raise achievement.”


Branstad added: “I do not believe we should spend even one minute discussing additional resources to prop up our current educational structure until we have first agreed on the reforms our children need.”


The investment proposed by Branstad and Reynolds scales up over five years, starting with $14 million in the first year, $72 million in the second year, and $187 million at full implementation in five years.


Other states and nations have made dramatic, whole-system changes that have pushed their education systems past Iowa’s. Iowa, meanwhile, has slipped from being a top performer to middle of the pack on national tests.


“Iowa’s children deserve the best education we can provide so they leave our schools with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful and rewarding lives,” said Iowa Education Director Jason Glass. “We stand at a pivotal moment in Iowa’s storied education history, in which we have the opportunity and will as a community to make the transition from being ‘good’ to being ‘great.’”


World-class schools are one of four top priorities set by Branstad and Reynolds, along with 200,000 new jobs, a 25 percent increase in family incomes and to reduce the cost of government by 15 percent.


The centerpiece of their 2013 education reform package is establishing a new teacher leadership and compensation system. This proposal is based on recommendations from the Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation, which thanks to the Legislature’s action, was established as a diverse group of Iowans who spent seven months studying this issue.


The teacher leadership and compensation system raises the status of the teaching profession and attracts and retains talented educators through these approaches:




  • Raise Iowa’s minimum starting salary from $28,000 to $35,000 to make teaching more attractive.


  • Keep top teachers in front of children, but pay these teacher leaders more to take on more instructional leadership responsibility alongside school administrators, which will strengthen the teaching throughout the building.  Teachers who are selected for model, mentor and lead roles will be paid more for sharing their expertise and for working additional days to coach, co-teach and to foster collaboration among all educators.


  • Give brand-new teachers a reduced teaching load in their first year so they can spend more time learning from outstanding veteran teachers.


The teacher leadership and compensation system, which will be phased in over several years, gives school districts the flexibility to customize leadership roles to meet their local needs. It builds on landmark, bipartisan legislation in 2001 that created, but never funded, a teacher career ladder.


“This is about strengthening the teaching profession for the benefit of both students and teachers,” Reynolds said. “Teachers are the single most important influence on a child’s success inside school, and educators are being asked to do much more to prepare students for our knowledge-driven economy. We must make sure new teachers are ready to rise to that challenge, while also providing more support for teachers already in the classroom.”


The education reform package introduced today by Branstad and Reynolds also includes four other components:


  • Teach Iowa Initiative: Expands an existing program to provide both relief and incentive through tuition reimbursement to top students who commit to teach in Iowa schools for five years, with a focus on hard-to-hire subjects such as math and science. Teach Iowa scholars will receive an extra $4,000 for each year of service, for a total of $20,000. This initiative also includes a new pilot program to strengthen clinical experience with a full year of student teaching in the senior year of college, rather than the typical one semester.


  • College- and Career-Ready Seals: Use diploma seals to identify and recognize graduating high school students who demonstrate that they are college- and career-ready. A blue-ribbon commission of business and education leaders would set high standards for the seals to better define what it means to be college or career-ready. The seals are in addition to a high school diploma. The purpose is to help students better prepare for the future and to align education with workforce development in a thoughtful way.


  • Improving educator evaluations: Iowa needs to update existing teacher and administrator evaluations to provide more valuable feedback. This will include deciding how student achievement growth should count. This work should help the state win a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.



  • Expand the Iowa Learning Online program: This proposal expands an existing program at the Iowa Department of Education to allow more high school students the opportunity to take high-quality online courses taught by Iowa teachers. Small districts that often struggle to find applicants for hard-to-hire subjects also will find this helpful. This will require an initial state investment, but would be self-sustaining in three years.


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New Lights ON School begins program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by M. McNeil   
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:02
A Rock Island Elementary School will begin offering afterschool programs beginning today (Monday) thanks to a new federal grant

(Rock Island, IL)  Earl Hanson has been given a $138,000 annual federal grant to provide educational and enrichment activities for struggling students after school.  The school will receive $138,000 each year for five years.

Earl Hanson joins the long list of Lights ON for Learning Community Learning Centers (CLCs) that have received grants over the past eleven years and will now be hanging a bright yellow Lights ON banner in their entrance.    The RIROE is the fiscal agent and project manager.  This is the eleventh 21st CCLC grant the Rock Island School District has received over the years for seven different RI schools.  Judy Hipskind will be the Lights ON Site Coordinator for Earl Hanson.  Hipskind, an experienced 21st CCLC grant coordinator, has worked with the former Lincoln School program and is currently with the RI Academy.  Programming begins January 14th.

The money is part of a $14 million dollar 21st Century Community Learning Center grant the Illinois State Board of Education recently announced.  These programs are expected to serve more than 13,600 students from 110 Illinois schools state-wide.
The 21st CCLC grant program provides academic interventions to help students meet Illinois state standards. The program also offers a variety of enrichment opportunities for students and their families, including life skills, art, music, recreation, technology classes, and character education.

“After-school programs keep students active and engaged in learning outside school hours,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch said in a news release. “But those positive afterschool experiences — new opportunities or time with mentors — often inspire new and continued motivation in the classroom.”

Illinois receives funds for the program based on a formula from the U.S. Department of Education. A total of $14 million was available for Fiscal Year 2013 awards through a competitive grant process. The agency received 104 proposals, totaling more than $33 million from 29 school districts, 50 community- and faith-based organizations, two universities and six regional offices of education. Thirty-seven 21st CCLC grants on behalf of 110 schools were awarded while 67 proposals were not recommended for funding. The 2013 grantees can be renewed for four years but subsequent fiscal years depend upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the previous grant period.

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Melissa Perry   
Monday, 14 January 2013 14:48
WACO, Texas -- Baylor University conferred degrees on almost 800 graduates including Nicole Leeann Cantrill of Bettendorf, who received her Bachelor of Science in Education - Health Science Studies degree during fall commencement exercises Dec. 15 in the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus. Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked liberal arts institution, classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with "high research activity."
Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor offers 144 undergraduate, 77 master, 32 doctoral degree programs, and two education specialist programs plus the juris doctor degree, through its 11 academic units. Baylor's 735-acre campus in Waco is home to more than 15,000 students from all 50 states and 80 countries.

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jerry Hanson   
Monday, 14 January 2013 14:45

Clarke University student-athletes earn all-conference honors!

Dubuque, Iowa - Abby Willich of Davenport has earned Midwest Collegiate Conference All-Conference performers this past semester at Clarke University.

Clarke University is a member of the NAIA and the Midwest Collegiate Conference. For more information, visit

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jennifer Jentz   
Monday, 14 January 2013 14:43

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (January 7, 2013) - Mount Mercy University welcomed Katelyn Bishop of Davenport into the STEPS leadership program during a special induction ceremony held on Thursday, January 3, in Mount Mercy's Stello Performance Hall. (Last name) is a freshman from (City). In all, 20 freshmen were inducted into the program.

The ceremony officially welcomes and inducts the STEPS class of 2016 through a symbolic pinning, officiated by members of the sophomore STEPS class. Junior STEPS member Kim Moorman of Coggon, Iowa, led newly inducted students in the call to service, a pledge announcing students' oath to aid others and work to grow as leaders through workshops, events and personal reflection. Dr. DeAnn M. Fitzgerald, O.D., founder of Spanda, Inc., and owner of Dr. D.M. Fitzgerald and Associates, served as the keynote speaker, with invocation led by Executive Director of Mission & Ministry Sister Shari Sutherland '71.

Mount Mercy's STEPS program is a four-year leadership program built on the foundation of servant leadership. Students accepted into STEPS have shown a high degree of interest in learning how to utilize their strengths and abilities in order to contribute effectively and efficiently in the communities in which they live and work. The program focuses on empowering students to develop skills that will aid them in their college experience and in life after graduation.

Students inducted into the STEPS program work to gain a fundamental understanding of leadership by participating in workshops and volunteering with a local service agency. By their senior year, students will be able to assess their growth as a leader and be able to identity and increase the innate strengths that they have as individuals.


Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mount Mercy University is the regional Catholic, Mercy University that promises students of diverse backgrounds, ages and faiths a challenging, practical education that inspires them to discover knowledge, build community and lead courageous lives. Mount Mercy offers baccalaureate and graduate education to more than 1,800 enrolled students and uniquely blends liberal arts education with professional preparation.

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