In August of 2013, the Johnston Community School district embarked on a process to design a comprehensive teacher leadership and compensation project (TLC). Thirty-eight stakeholders including teachers, administrators, parents, community representatives, Johnston Education Association (JEA), and Heartland AEA have devoted more than 1,200 hours to creating a comprehensive and cohesive plan based on the following vision:
The Johnston Teacher Leadership Project will empower teachers to promote quality instructional practices that will assist in creating a culture of excellence to promote the academic growth of all students.
This large-scale planning effort would not have been possible without the TLC planning grant money provided by the Department of Education. The planning grant allowed for extensive review of the teacher leadership models implemented locally and on a national scale, including a site visit to Eagle County, Colorado to see a teacher leadership model in action. An extensive analysis of student and teacher data helped identify district needs. Once the planning committee selected a teacher leadership model to meet Johnston’s needs, the planning committee developed the following goals and outcomes for the project:
JCSD site committee, in collaboration with the Human Resources department, will implement the TLC recruitment, selection and hiring plan for teacher leadership positions within the school district.
- JCSD will hire 10 instructional coaches, 32 lead teachers and 56 model teachers to implement the TLC plan.
JCSD will attract and develop teacher leaders by offering competitive compensation and providing professional learning opportunities to support their role and responsibilities as teacher leaders.
- Teacher leaders will have contracts specific to their role as teacher leaders, including additional compensation and extended day contracts
- Teacher leaders will improve their knowledge about effective instructional practices.
Teacher leaders will work with administration to determine new and innovative methods to develop and deliver job embedded professional development for JCSD teachers to improve student learning.
- Increased collaboration of teacher leaders with building and district administration to develop and deliver professional development.
- JCSD will dramatically increase the number of teachers involved in the development and delivery of professional development initiatives from 19 to 98.
- The number of job-embedded professional learning opportunities for teachers will increase.
- Increased student engagement and interaction with the curriculum 76-100% of the time as evidenced by learning walks.
Teacher leaders will work within the JCSD mentoring and new teacher induction programs to support new teachers in the implementation of quality instructional practices and meet their learning needs.
- Teacher leaders will serve as mentors for new teachers.
- Teacher leaders will meet weekly with their mentees to assess learning needs and develop and implement plans to meet those needs.
- New teachers will implement high yield instructional strategies.
Teacher leaders will work collaboratively within district classrooms to coach and model effective instructional strategies to promote the learning and academic growth of all students.
- The number of weekly classroom visits and collaborative teaching sessions facilitated by teacher leaders will increase from 45 to 458.
- 100% of JCSD teaching staff will access the JCSD instructional strategies sharing website to review strategies being developed and implemented through the TLC project.
- Teachers will implement high yield instructional practices.
Long Term Outcome
- Increased student achievement in grades 2-11 on Iowa Assessment reading, math and science tests among all subgroups.
- Evidence of grades 3-11 student growth in MAP testing data from fall to spring in math, reading, and language.
The goals of the TLC project were designed to enhance, strengthen and support the district’s key structures, initiatives and processes in the Johnston Schools Strategic Plan. This plan embeds teacher leaders throughout the district to teach and support the growth of classroom educators in the area of Curriculum/Instruction/Assessment and 21st Century Skills, while embedding these into existing school improvement structures that lead to highly qualified and effective teachers. In addition, teachers new to the profession will have an enhanced induction process by creating a multi-tiered system of learning and support.
The grant was submitted during the last week of January. The committee expects to hear back sometime during March.
The district will monitor the impact and effectiveness of the TLC plan by collecting and analyzing multiple data points related to professional development opportunities, use of high yield instructional strategies, student engagement and student achievement. The site committee will be responsible for monitoring the outcomes of the TLC project and adjusting goals and outcomes for subsequent years.
The Johnston Community School District has demonstrated a commitment to implementing a quality teacher leadership plan. JCSD has structures, practices and key district staff in place to not only have the capacity to implement the project but sustain it over time. The commitment of state dollars to the Johnston TLC projects is an investment in developing exemplary teachers that will result in improved achievement for all Johnston students.