Teacher Leadership System Grants

The Iowa Department of Education has released the list of one hundred twenty-five six* Iowa school districts awarded teacher leadership system grants for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.

Districts that apply to start teacher leadership systems are required to set a vision and goals for what they plan to accomplish. They also must address “must-haves,” such as setting a minimum teacher salary of $33,500, improving entry into the profession through efforts that include mentoring new teachers, and a rigorous selection process for leadership roles.

The teacher leadership system will cost nearly $50 million in fiscal year 2015. That amount is expected to grow to about $150 million annually by fiscal year 2017.

Local districts winning grants for the 2015-2016 school year include Clear Creek-Amana, College Community, Iowa City, and Solon. Marion and Mid-Prairie won grants for the 2016-2017 school year. These schools will join thirty-nine school districts that won grants teacher leadership system grants for the 2014-2015 school year, which include Cedar Rapids and Linn-Mar.

In case you missed it, the ICCSD school board discussed the district’s teacher leadership system grant application at the October 14th meeting. At least one-quarter of ICCSD teachers are expected to serve in leadership roles each year.

Questions: How will we know whether this is an effective use of $150 million per year? If at least one-quarter of your teachers are qualified for leadership positions, how much need is there for this program? Are the leaders just leading other teachers who were also quite capable of being leaders themselves? Would a smaller mentorship program aimed at new teachers be just as effective?

*The Iowa DE corrected the press release 12/21/14.