Teachers in two Iowa school districts vote for teacher leadership roles to raise achievement Print
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:03

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today that teachers in the Central Decatur and the Saydel school districts overwhelmingly voted to adopt a teacher leadership and compensation structure in partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).

Last September, the districts and NIET won a grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund to put the teacher leadership and compensation structure in place. The districts have been in the planning stage since then. Before finalizing the plan, which is tailored to meet local needs, NIET requires that teachers in each school building vote on whether to approve it.  In Central Decatur, 87 percent of teachers voted yes. In Saydel, 94 percent of teachers voted yes.

The goal of the project is to build on the expertise and growth potential of teachers in each school, providing them with support in boosting student achievement and meeting higher academic goals. This will be done by putting in place NIET’s System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP), which creates mentor and master teacher roles that provide more support for classroom teachers to help them improve instructional strategies.  These teacher leaders work with administrators to align professional support with school academic goals and with the needs of each student. As part of the project, the districts will make it possible for teachers who specialize in science, technology, engineering and math to seek more training at local universities. Helping principals become more effective also is a focus of the project.

The grant provides $2.3 million for the first two years, with the possibility of nearly $9.6 million total over five years depending upon annual congressional appropriations.

“Teachers are eager to better utilize the expertise of top teachers to improve instruction and raise student achievement,” said Reynolds “With higher expectations for all students today,  it’s critical to better support the more complex work we are asking teachers to do.”

“We modeled the teacher leadership and compensation structure in our 2013 education reform package in large part on NIET’s successful Teacher Advancement Program,” said Reynolds.  “I would like to thank NIET and the Central Decatur and Saydel school districts for working together to move forward with this grant. Teachers will have new career options in these two districts because they recognize that the traditional one-size-fits-all approach in the teaching profession limits professional opportunities.”

The Central Decatur and Saydel superintendents said the grant will better support work already under way in their districts.

"As our staff learned about the TAP system, we were most excited by the constant theme of structured and strategic support for teachers that resulted in improved student achievement," said Central Decatur Superintendent Chris Coffelt.  "Staff support and willingness to implement this system will not just positively impact our students and staff, but will ultimately transform our school culture and the work we do as professionals."

For Saydel, Superintendent Brad Buck expects education to be transformed in terms of student learning and teachers’ careers: “I am so proud of our teachers for providing us with a vote percentage akin to a mandate for improvement. They are working hard and believe this model, through a variety of proven supports, will better translate their hard work into increases in student success.”


The grant won by Central Decatur and Saydel was one of 35 grants announced last fall by the U.S. Department of Education to “improve teacher pay structures, reward great teachers and principals, and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high-poverty schools.” For more information: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-boosts-district-led-efforts-recognize-and-reward-great-t



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