Eastern Allamakee Community School District chosen to receive Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

For the 2015-2016 school year, 76 school districts were chosen for the teacher leadership alliance. The Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) is included in that group chosen from the 170 districts that applied for the grant this year. The school districts chosen serve a mix of urban, suburban and rural communities.
The first year of the grant funded 39 districts. Fifty districts were chosen for the 2016-2017 school year. The goal is to eventually have all the districts in Iowa involved in this process of teacher leadership and compensation.
The Iowa Legislature passed an education reform package in 2013 which centers on utilizing the expertise of the best teachers to improve classroom instruction and raise student achievement. The system sets up practices which allow greater collaboration for teachers to learn from each other.
Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck stated, “Students face higher expectations today, and we must support the complex work of teaching in order to improve the instruction students receive. It’s very encouraging that so many education leaders in Iowa share this commitment and want to participate in this transformational teacher leadership effort, which is the most comprehensive in the nation.”
The Commission on Educator Leadership and Compensation evaluated  the applications. Plans are meant to help districts retain effective teachers and attract new teachers. Monetary compensation will be awarded for participation in the grant. Increasing teacher effectiveness should result in helping students meet their individual learning needs. Each plan must have a specific vision and goals of how they would use the additional money to enhance professional growth and learning in their district.

EACSD Superintendent Dale Crozier elaborated on the Eastern Allamakee Leadership Grant, which will bring $108,000 into the district that will be used in several ways:
1. It will allow the district to bump up its base teacher salary to $33,500 so that it can be competitive with other area school districts.  This will help in hiring well qualified teachers for the district’s vacancies;
2. Three positions will be created for lead teachers who will spend part of their time in the classroom and part of their time as instructional coaches. The additional funds will pay the substitutes so that the teachers can be out of their classrooms for part of the day. Lead teachers will be expected to work 15 additional days;
3. Other mentor and model teachers will also be used; they will also have extra workload. All three levels will receive monetary compensation. The goal of the program is to provide systemic improvement in the system by calling on current outstanding teachers in the district to provide leadership and professional support for all teachers. This systemic approach should empower all teachers in the district to strive for their best. The training is included in the funding of the grant. The implementation of the grant will not cost the district any money and should be an excellent opportunity for professional growth of all teachers. Grant writers included Arla Wagner, Gertie Monat, Deb Masek and Dr. Crozier.
The teacher leadership system will benefit from nearly $50 million statewide in fiscal year 2015. That amount is expected to grow to about $150 million by fiscal year 2017.