FDCSD?creates a new plan

One-third of Iowa’s students will benefit from Teacher Leadership and Compensation System funding.

Fort Dodge Community School District has designed a plan to meet state Legislature requirements and readied an application hoping to be chosen for the program. For the district, the $308 per student amounts to more than $1.15 million in funding for the 2014-15 school year.

“We’re not sure how many schools will apply, but it’s looking like possibly two-third of schools in Iowa,” Stacey Cole, FDCSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, explained to the FDCSD board Jan 27.

A site-based council of 10 district teachers and 10 administrators was assembled in December has put together the plan for teacher compensation and a new leadership structure.

“This will also be the group, if we are lucky enough to get the funding, they will help determine who will be our teacher leaders,” Cole said.

Teacher Leadership aims to improve student achievement by attracting the best teachers, retaining effective teachers, and increasing the collaboration between teachers to promote professional growth.

“We put ours together with the statement that our goal is, teacher leadership will formalize a system that fosters a purposeful community that is responsive to all members,” Jeanna Rogers, Cooper Elementary teacher and council member, said.

The district’s vision, Rogers said: encourage a positive culture that inspires, transforms and sets high expectations for student achievement and the retention of effective teachers; promote a structured process in which each teacher shares the responsibility of fostering continuous school improvement; build a systemic approach to professional learning through research of best practices, reflective dialogue and modeled instruction to improve teaching and learning; and provide a fluid process of sustainable school improvement through multi-tiered resources to strengthen teacher effectiveness.

Also stated in the application are the district’s goals.

“Our goals, that we have submitted, are to have a 10 percent increase in the number of students meeting growth targets in reading from grades 3 to 11, compared to 2013-14 Iowa Assessment scores; to see a 10 percent increase in student-centered classrooms; and also teachers report a higher sense of collaboration through a survey that we will be doing,” Rogers said.

Of the three models offered for a teacher leadership structure, the FDCSD has elected to create its own model, according to Melissa Elsbecker, Fort Dodge Middle School instructor and site-based council member.

“The model we have created would involve new positions such as two mentor coaches who would be working with Stacey (Cole) at an elementary level and a secondary level,” she said. “Below them, working with the mentor coaches, we would have eight or 10 instructional coaches, who would then work at grade levels, specifically between buildings, so they can focus on the needs of those grade levels and work together.”

The district’s plan emphasizes the instructional coach, Elsbecker said.

“The instructional coach will have many duties,” she said. “Creating positive relationships so they can build the teacher’s capacity, and using those instructional practices to make student achievement higher. And sharing high quality instruction in classrooms. They will be modeling, co-planning, co-teaching, giving feedback to those teachers. They’ll support instructional development of all teachers which means they’re strategists who will work with teachers across all subject areas.”

The deadline for the district’s proposal was Friday. Districts will be notified in March if they were approved.