Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium is sold out

July 19, 2012

The governor’s office today announced that the Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium next month is sold out.

In May, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined Education Director Jason Glass to announce they would host the Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium on Friday, Aug. 3, at Drake University in Des Moines.

Branstad said he and Reynolds are holding the symposium to focus on how to organize schools to treat teachers as instructional leaders, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Symposium speakers and panelists will share their thinking about shared principal and teacher leadership.  We’ll hear about why this matters, how it’s being done in this state and country, and how top-performing school systems around the globe approach this issue.

Symposium registration was open to the public, including educators, school board members, business leaders, parents and legislators. More than 700 Iowans are expected to attend the all-day conference.

“Teacher leadership will be at the heart of our 2013 legislative package because it is critical to give students the knowledge and skills they need to be well prepared,” said Branstad.

“We also recognize that growing expectations for students place even more demands upon teachers, without always providing teachers the support needed to meet those demands,” said Reynolds. “Stronger, shared principal and teacher leadership can help schools do that more effectively.”

Branstad and Reynolds stressed that the symposium is about ending the outdated practice of teachers working largely in isolation in their classrooms and moving toward greater collaboration to help students learn more. Some Iowa schools have already set off in this direction, and two of them will be on hand at the August 3 symposium: Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Branstad and Reynolds note that their October 2011 education blueprint included a four-tier teacher leadership and compensation structure, with master, mentor, career and apprentice teachers. When they took the blueprint out on the road to town-hall meetings across the state, Iowans raised good questions about it would be put into operation.

So the decision was made to study the issue further, and make recommendations to the 2013 Legislature.

In February, Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass announced the members of a new Iowa Teacher Leadership and Compensation Taskforce, which is meeting monthly. Its report is due Oct. 15.

“The status quo is not serving our children well. We have to set the bar higher,” said Reynolds.

Here are just a few statistics that drive that home:

  • Nearly 23 percent of Iowa third-graders don’t read proficiently on state tests.
  • Just 33 percent of Iowa fourth-graders read at proficient or advanced levels on the exam known as the nation’s report card.
  • In math, just 34 percent of Iowa eighth-graders are proficient or advanced on that exam.
  • Only 35 percent of Iowa eighth-graders are proficient or advanced in science.

“Our children deserve better,” said Reynolds. “A stronger, shared principal and teacher leadership model can help us make faster progress toward restoring Iowa schools to best in the nation, and giving all students a globally competitive education.”

To learn more about the symposium, go to:

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