Eric.ed.gov – Developing Teacher Leadership in Iowa: Saydel and Central Decatur Schools

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Iowa is working to provide teachers with more effective and relevant professional development that measurably increases their instructional skills and their students’ learning growth. This is particularly important as new Iowa Core Standards with higher expectations for student learning are put in place. While the Iowa Core focuses on what students need to learn, an equally important question is: how do teachers adjust their instruction to support new, more challenging standards for learning? One important district initiative to support strong classroom instruction is TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP) which is being implemented with the support of a federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant. The TIF project in Iowa has an emphasis on the development of teacher leadership and effectiveness across all subjects, with a particular emphasis in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). TAP enables schools to improve instruction in every classroom. Implementation of TAP in Saydel and Central Decatur School Districts is supported by a partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), developer of TAP. Saydel and Central Decatur seek to better attract and retain effective educators at their schools, thereby increasing student learning growth and closing achievement gaps. The districts offer comprehensive school-based, job embedded professional development supported by instructional leaders in the school building. This innovation will provide important lessons for other Iowa districts developing new teacher leadership roles and responsibilities to drive more effective classroom instruction in their schools. The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching works with districts to implement the TAP System, or other reforms to support teacher and principal effectiveness. Building on recent research, this paper describes how NIET works with schools to support, oversee, and reinforce job-embedded professional development (PD) so that teachers and students consistently benefit from it. This paper also describes how effective PD can be aligned with teacher classroom observations to better ensure that teachers receive specific feedback to support improvements in their practice. A broad new consensus has emerged about the best approach to professional development. Instead of attending one-shot workshops or journeying to conferences, experts say that teachers should be able to learn on the job with plenty of opportunities for collaboration and individualized support. Nearly every report on PD now dutifully lists core features of effective PD, including a focus on curriculum and shared instructional challenges; collective participation; opportunities for active learning; sustained duration; and coherence with student achievement goals. The insights from NIET’s work with districts can be applied by districts in Iowa that are putting in place reforms to build teacher leadership and opportunities for professional growth.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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