]The Iowa Department of Education recently announced that the Dubuque Community School District is in the first group of Iowa school districts selected to launch teacher leadership systems next school year. The competitive grant will provide approximately $3.3 million in additional annual funding to the district for enhancements to its teacher leadership system.

“Funding from the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant will give us the ability to make significant enhancements to our already strong teacher-leadership model,” said Stan Rheingans, superintendent of schools. “We have long been committed to creating strong opportunities for teacher leaders and this will only strengthen our ability to do so – all focused on our ultimate goal of increasing student achievement.”

Out of Iowa’s 346 school districts, 146 applied to start teacher leadership systems in 2014-15 and 39 were selected. The Commission on Teacher Leadership and Compensation recommended which districts should be in the first group and Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck made the final decision. Over the next three years, teacher leadership systems will be phased across Iowa, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-17, although whether to do so is a local decision.

In Dubuque, a team of administrators and teachers wrote the developed the plan that was submitted to the state using broad input from across the district and from community members. The Dubuque proposal will create new opportunities for teacher leadership across the district, including the addition of lead teachers in the district, a year-long residency for new teachers, and opportunities for teachers to learn new techniques by observing other teachers deliver instruction. The additional teacher-leadership opportunities are designed to complement the district’s already robust system of instructional coaches, technology coaches and teachers on special assignment.

“Teacher leaders play an important role in our district in implementing curriculum and strengthening instruction,” said Lynne Devaney, associate superintendent. “Our plan is designed to push this model even further by enhancing collaboration so that teachers learn from each other to improve instruction.”

As part of the application process, districts were required to set a vision and goals for the teacher leadership system in their community. Requirements included setting a minimum salary of $33,500 for full-time teachers, providing intensive mentoring for new teachers and adopting a rigorous selection process for applicants for teacher leadership roles.

Teacher leadership systems are the centerpiece of Iowa’s historic 2013 education reform package. Selected districts will receive about $309 per pupil next school year to implement teacher leadership systems. The annual cost statewide is nearly $50 million in FY15, growing to about $150 million annually in the third year. After the initial year of district implementation, teacher leadership funding will roll into the Iowa school finance formula.

For more information, contact the DCSD School and Community Relations Office at (563)552-3020.