Branstad launching Teacher Leadership listening tour

Branstad OfficialBy The Iowa Statesman


If nothing else, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is brave. With school districts preparing to layoff teachers and other support staff, unsure how much state funding they will receive in the coming fiscal year — their budgets are to be certified today — he announced a “Teacher Leadership listening tour.”

He and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will visit three Iowa school districts this month to learn more about how the first year of Iowa’s new Teacher Leadership and Compensation System has gone, starting with the Benton Community School District today.

Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System is the centerpiece of Iowa’s landmark 2013 education reform package. It is being phased in over three years, with a price tag of $150 million annually when fully in place in 2016-17. Iowans agreed to make this investment because it’s critical to restore our schools to best in the nation and give students a globally competitive education.

Better utilizing the expertise of many of Iowa’s top teachers in new roles will help schools improve instruction and raise achievement. Those new roles include instructional coaches, mentors and model teachers. With higher expectations for all students, teacher leaders support the more demanding work teachers must do by analyzing data, fine tuning lessons and co-teaching.

Benton is among the first 39 school districts, with about a third of enrollment statewide, to adopt teacher leadership systems this school year. Another 76 school districts, with about a third of students statewide, will adopt teacher leadership systems in 2015-16. The goal is for all remaining districts to have their teacher leadership systems in place in 2016-17.

“We are confident that this unprecedented collaboration by teacher leaders, teachers and school administrators will transform education across Iowa,” said Branstad. “Broad, bipartisan agreement in the Legislature allowed us to create the most extensive teacher leadership system in the nation.”

“One of the biggest selling points for new Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System is that it will do more to attract and retain highly effective teachers,” said Reynolds. “It is changing the culture of schools with more opportunities for ongoing professional development right in the classroom.”

In addition to Benton Community, Branstad and Reynolds will also visit the Rock Valley (Wednesday, April 22) and Southeast Polk (Monday, April 27) school districts.