Linn-Mar's Annual Review of Assignment

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Linn-Mar’s Annual Review of Assignment

One question we get alot at the DE is “How are other districts handling the required teacher leader annual review of assignment?” Linn-Mar shared what they are doing - and gave credit to the lessons they learned from Iowa City.

When initially hired, all Linn-Mar teacher leaders go through a rigorous selection process as required by TLC legislation. However, going through that same process every year wouldn’t be practical or feasible. A streamlined process after the initial hiring is allowable. 

 Linn-Mar determined that after a teacher is selected for a leadership position they can "fast-track" for three years. This means the annual review of assignment is streamlined – although it does include the required peer feedback. If a teacher leader has a satisfactory annual review and wishes to continue in the role they may do so – and the position is not opened up for new teachers to apply. In addition to not over-taxing the system, this enables teachers in leadership roles the necessary time to receive training and develop expertise in their new roles.

In year four, the teacher leader position opens. If an existing teacher leader wishes to continue they must go through the complete, rigorous process. New teachers can also apply for the role. Teacher leader terms are also staggered to ensure there is not complete turnover in any one year.

We also discussed another related question that often comes up: "How long should a teacher leader remain in their role?" 

Districts are working to strike a balance between experience and credibility. On the one hand, many teacher leader roles require a large investment of time and money. High turnover of teacher leaders would fail to maximize this investment and wouldn’t allow teacher leaders the time needed to develop expertise – decreasing their effectiveness. On the other hand, districts know that to be credible, teacher leaders must be seen as teachers first. Peer review is one way to ensure teacher leaders continue to maintain credibility as both teachers and leaders. Making sure teacher leader assignments are not lifetime appointments is another. 

Linn-Mar's system is one way to strike this balance. They have thoughtfully planned for how long teacher leaders can serve in their roles and what the transition process will look like. In this way the can ensure: (1) they have the most effective and credible teachers in leadership roles, (2) that new teacher leaders are being developed, and (3) that career advancement opportunities are open to all.


Related FAQ Questions:

Is an annual review required for teacher leaders and, if so, does the review require peer feedback?

 Yes. The legislation requires an annual review of a teacher’s assignment to a leadership role by the school’s or school district’s administration. The review must include peer feedback on the effectiveness of the teacher’s performance of duty specific to the teacher’s leadership role. Peer feedback should come from the teachers served by the teacher leader. Feedback from the other district teacher leaders could also be included.


If our school district already has teacher leader positions (e.g. mentors, instructional coaches), will they have to go through a selection process if we are approved to enter the system? 

Yes. The legislation requires a rigorous selection process for placement into and retention in teacher leadership roles. Because the legislation is very detailed in the requirements of the process, existing teacher leaders will need to complete the selection process. The process must include: the use of measures of effectiveness and professional growth to determine suitability for the role; a selection committee that includes teachers and administrators who shall accept and review applications for assignment or reassignment to a teacher leadership role and shall make recommendations regarding the applications to the superintendent of the school district; and an annual review of the assignment to the leadership role by the school’s or school district’s administration. 


Do teachers who are selected for a leadership role need to reapply for that role each year? 


Yes. School districts, however, have some discretion in the format of the reapplication/renewal process. Teacher leadership roles are designed to be annual assignments. According to the legislation, teachers in leadership roles are required to complete “an annual review of the assignment to a teacher leadership role by the school’s or school district’s administration. The review shall include peer feedback on the effectiveness of the teacher’s performance of duty specific to the teacher’s leadership role. A teacher who completes the time period of assignment to a leadership role may apply to the school’s or the school district’s administration for assignment in a new leadership role, if appropriate, or for reassignment.” Districts could design a streamlined renewal process for teachers in leadership roles as long as the process meets the requirements of this legislation. 


Are the results of the peer review of the teacher leader for the purpose of TLC shared with the site-based council/selection committee in considering whether to recommend them for reassignment to the position? 


Teacher leader positions are one-year assignments and their performance is to be reviewed annually by the school’s or school district’s administration. The annual review is to include peer feedback on the effectiveness of the teacher leader’s performance in the role. The site-based council (Models 1 and 2) or selection committee (Model 3) – made up of teachers and administrators – is to consider measures of teacher effectiveness and professional growth, the needs of the school district, the performance and professional development, and the competency on the Iowa Teaching Standards in making their recommendation to the superintendent for assignment or reassignment of the teacher leader applicant. The application process (e.g. the materials presented to the site-based council/selection committee) for the initial assignment and for the subsequent reassignment is a local decision determined by the school district.