AEA 267 Supports/PD for new Teacher-Leaders
Frequently Asked Questions about TLC Implementation from the State Department of Education
Debunking some myths in Iowa of the TLC Grant:
What is the Teacher Leadership Grant?
MYTH: The Teacher Leadership Grant is just a way to pay teachers more money.
TRUTH: The TLC Grant is a funding legislation from the State Department of Education designed to create leadership avenues for teachers in schools. These leadership roles are designed by individual districts as a way for teachers to play larger roles in professional development, student learning goals, and analysis of student achievement data. The TLC program is a unique piece of legislation; Iowa is truly the first in the nation to create a statewide, fully-funded system for creating opportunities for teachers to have more input and impact for student learning at the district level. Because of the added time and responsibilities, teacher leaders will receive an additional stipend to their salary. The state maintains a website with many resources, the history of TLC, and legislative requirements here.
MYTH: A teacher leader has to be the "best" teacher in the school, and only the "best" teacher should apply for a leadership position.
TRUTH: Any teacher applying for a teacher leadership position understands that the grant is intended to develop teacher leaders and not really to promote the best teachers. In other words, teacher leaders are teachers willing to step up their learning on how to impact students in new, different, effective, and innovative ways. Eventually, every teacher should have the chance to participate in a teacher leadership role at some point in their career.
What can a teacher who applies expect from a teacher leadership role?
MYTH: Only the principal's favorite teacher will get chosen for teacher leadership.
TRUTH: Teachers interested in applying will send materials to a Selection Committee comprised of equal parts administrators and teachers. The committee will use a rubric to score applications. The highest scoring applications will be asked to interview with the committee, where an interview rubric will be used.
After the interviews, the committee will discuss the applicants and make a recommendation to the superintendent for hiring. Any teacher applying for a teacher leadership position CANNOT be a part of the Selection Committee.
MYTH: Teachers in leadership positions will be the boss of their former colleagues.
TRUTH: There are many different types of teacher leadership roles; we have a Professional Development Coordinator, Model teachers, technology integration coach, instructional coach, and District Leadership Team (DLT) roles. There is NO ROLE that puts a teacher in an evaluative position over other teachers and there is NO EXPECTATION that teacher leaders "boss" or "evaluate" other teachers. Teacher evaluation is a completely separate process reserved for administrators and outlined in the Master Teaching Contract.
Our teacher leaders are expected to work with administrators and faculty in analyzing student data. From there, leaders work to improve student outcomes by designing and leading professional development, co-teaching units, and working with teacher teams to work on the needs of our students.
MYTH: Teachers who take leadership roles lose their old teaching positions, seniority, and there's a danger that the funding will run out soon.
TRUTH: First, the funding is the result of legislative action- it would take additional legislative action to remove that funding. Other funding that is legislated for schools includes Teacher Quality (TQ) and TSS. These programs, like TLC, should continue to be funded by the state for many years, and are generally difficult to remove from law.
Second, teachers accepted into leadership roles can return to a teaching position at the end of the year (if they so choose) in the same position category they held prior to accepting a TLC position, remain on the salary schedule and continue accruing seniority according to the Master Contract. The TLC grant will pay an additional stipend for all teacher leaders- check the Leadership Positions to find out more about the stipends and extra requirements of teacher leaders.