The Hudson Community School District Teacher Leadership System: Strengthening Instruction to Improve Student Achievement
The Board of Directors approved our plan for the TLC system and the grant application was subsequently submitted to the Iowa Department of Education on January 23rd. Enclosed here is the Executive Summary of our work. To read the details of the plan, click on the hyperlinks at the beginning of each section. A special thank you to everyone who helped put this plan together, it was a lot of work.
(1) Planning: Interested stakeholders were recruited to participate in a collaborative process to design and develop a teacher leadership model for the Hudson Community School District. A series of articles, describing the legislative process engaged in by the Iowa General Assembly, appeared in the local newspaper and blog posts from the superintendent provided the initial information used to solicit community engagement. The same vehicle was used to engage faculty members in the process, but in addition to this, announcements and notices were posted in the weekly faculty bulletin that encouraged participation. Ultimately, a stakeholder group was appointed that included administration (3), teaching faculty (3), and community members (3).
(2) Vision: Create Effective Learning Environments That Result in Success for All Students. Goal #1: Development and implementation of a teacher leadership and compensation system that is teacher and student centered and designed to strengthen instruction and student performance in the Hudson Community School District by providing enhanced career opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles as instructional coaches, model teachers, and mentor teachers to assist in curriculum and professional development. Goal #2: Build strong relationships between resident teachers and teacher leaders that will enhance student achievement through collaboration and the exploration, implementation, and monitoring of instructional strategies and/or tools. Build strong mentoring relationships between resident teachers/teacher leaders and new teachers so as to bolster entry into the profession by implementing teacher leadership roles that work in tandem with those new to the profession.
(3) Connection to District Initiatives:The Hudson Community School District is currently engaged in a number of initiatives where teacher leadership would prove to be of a huge benefit to our processes of strengthening instruction. Some critical initiatives include Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Professional Learning Communities (PLC), Iowa Core Curriculum (ICC), K-6 Math and Literacy Curriculum Implementation and Development, Connected Learning Initiative (1:1 laptops 9-12), and the Pirate Term which is a Competency Based Unit of Instruction for grades 7-12.
(4) Improved Entry: During the first year, initial teachers will be considered resident teachers. During this residency year, the contract of the new teacher will be extended five days. During two days of this five day extension, resident teachers will have the opportunity to develop deep relationships with their assigned mentor. The residency year will be designed to not only immerse the new teacher in practice, but afford them the opportunity to observe best practice. The resident teacher will be provided a minimum of four additional release time days during the course of the school year.
(5) Description of Roles:Instructional Coaches: Instructional coaches are Hudson teachers that are no longer assigned to a classroom teaching role, but rather as a support to other teachers. The instructional coach works under the supervision of the administration in the development of curricula, research-based instructional strategies, professional development, and coaching activities. The district anticipates instructional coaches in the areas of literacy, math, and technology integration. Model Teachers: Model teachers are identified faculty members who are assigned a full-time teaching load and act as a support to other teachers and work collaboratively with instructional coaches. The district anticipates having at least one model teacher per grade level. Mentor Teachers: This role is designed in a deliberate effort to strengthen entry into the profession and provide additional supports beyond what is currently part of the induction process. The primary responsibility of the mentor teacher will be to offer peer assistance and coaching to new teachers.
(6) Selection: Requirements: When we consider the requirements of a teacher leader, there are multiple attributes that would be considered that are consistent between all levels of teacher leadership. The candidate should be seen by colleagues as someone of high integrity and who is able to influence those they are called on to lead. Credentials: The teacher leader candidate must have been a credentialed teacher for the Hudson Community School District in good standing for the 2013-2014 school year. Candidates under consideration will not have been the subject of disciplinary action for at least two years prior to being considered. Teacher leader candidates should have a strong background in a content area. Professional Learning: Priority will be given to candidates with a strong track record of participating in and engaging in professional learning, and then infusing that newfound knowledge into practice.
(7) Strengthening PD: Professional Development: Our belief is that for professional development to be effective it must be useful and embedded in practice. Too often there is no connection between theory and practice. It is no mistake that this process is meant to encapsulate the Iowa Professional Development Model.
(8) Monitoring and Impact: We must be clear that the formal evaluation and supervision of the teacher leaders falls under the purview of the licensed evaluator. In our district that role has been delegated to the building principals. Further, an understanding that the purpose of monitoring is in fact to increase the impact the initiative is having on teacher effectiveness, and ultimately student achievement. Therefore, we begin from the juxtaposition that we identify who is helping who, and how? We believe then that our model should be built on a framework that ensures interdependent accountability overseen by the Building Leadership Committee.
(9) Capacity and Sustainability: Our capacity to sustain the Teacher Leadership and Compensation initiative will derive from the ability to identify, coach, and nurture potential leaders. Our plan calls for the identification of 20 teachers to assume leadership positions. We do this for a couple of reasons. First, we are unsure as to how many teachers will actually elect to become teacher leaders. By starting out with a few teacher leaders, by completing the feedback loop and having success, we believe this will build the capacity for more teachers to become leaders.
(10) Estimated Budget