TLC Conference, Standards Bootcamp, and more

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June 24, 2019   Vol. 13

From the Bureau of Leading, Teaching, Learning Services

TLC: What Works

Conference to focus on essential issues in effective teacher leadership

Teacher leaders from across Iowa will gather July 16 at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines to hear Joyce Killion, senior advisor, discuss a report released by Learning Forward called A Systemic Approach to Elevating Teacher Leadership. In the report, Killion and other authors identify four components that make up an effective teacher leadership system. Registration is closed and the event is full.


For more information, contact Lora Rasey at or (515) 725-0648. 

Future Ready Iowa

New funding unleashes Future Ready Iowa opportunities


Please spread the word within your networks about three new Future Ready Iowa funding opportunities to help Iowans get the education and training required for great jobs and to help employers get the skilled workers they need.  

More than $16 million in new funding became available through bills signed by Gov. Reynolds in May. Most of the money will fund three programs:

  • The Last Dollar Scholarship program, which prepares Iowans for high-demand jobs by paying tuition for those who enroll in one of 48 eligible programs.
  • Future Ready Iowa Grant program, which provides tuition support to Iowans who have completed at least two years of a four-year degree in a high-demand field.
  • Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, a grant program to help communities carry out initiatives that address local workforce issues.

A communications toolkit is available online to help stakeholders learn about these opportunities and to share information about them through multiple platforms. 


For more information about Future Ready Iowa, visit

Ft. Dodge teachers attending Standards Bookcamp

Focus on equitable, quality instruction

Fort Dodge CSD holds Standards Bootcamp for instructional staff


Like many Iowa districts, Fort Dodge CSD had a record number of snow days last winter. Superintendent Jesse Ulrich came to Stephanie Anderson, director of Elementary Education Services, and Kirsten Doebel, director of Secondary Education Services, and asked if they could plan two days of professional learning for teachers to meet their contract obligations after students were dismissed for the year. Anderson and Doebel had no problem coming up with an idea.


They had been part of a team of Iowa educators who attended the UnboundEd’s Standards Institute in February. UnboundEd provides free standards-aligned resources to educators and extensive training in the equitable implementation of grade level standards for all students. The Standards Institute is a five-day intensive training in the equitable implementation of mathematics and English/Language Arts standards. They also host a leadership strand for administrators and other curriculum leaders.


Last winter Iowa’s largest urban districts and a handful of rural districts sent teams of educators to the Standards Institute. Fort Dodge was one of those districts. Anderson said the Institute had a dramatic impact on the Fort Dodge team. “We were so blown away by the connections we were making between the standards, curriculum adoption, MTSS implementation, and equity. We saw how they all nested together and realized that this a nice progression in learning for our teachers,” she said. “We knew we had to find a way to bring this learning back home. These two days became the perfect opportunity.”


To assist the district in developing and implementing what they called their Standards Bootcamp, they solicited the help of Achievement Network (ANet), a nonprofit dedicated to educational equity. ANet consultants often serve as facilitators for the Standards Institute. During the spring, Anderson and Doebel met several times with Diana De Los Santos, managing director of System Advising for ANet to discuss their vision for the event and how it fit into their long-term priorities to make sure the time with teachers and leaders was maximized.


“Diana has held our hands throughout this process. She asked the right questions. She was so organized with rolling this out. Having that assistance has been very beneficial,” Anderson said. 


With the support of ANet, Doebel and Anderson decided they wanted to have co-facilitators – a district leader and an ANet facilitator – lead the sessions in Fort Dodge. “Our leaders have been working with the ANet facilitators for several months to prepare,” Anderson said.  Using co-facilitators was “big;” Anderson said it was critical in securing buy-in from their teachers.


They also expanded the Bootcamp to include other curriculum areas.  “We know that content specific PD is very engaging and important for teachers,” Anderson said. “But we still grounded it the standards. We found standards experts who could support the other content areas.”


All staff participated in the two days of training. Based on survey results, they found the days beneficial. Eighty-five percent of the participants said they would recommend an event like this to a colleague and 85 percent also agree that they are better equipped to do their job after this event.


Anderson said they are pleased with the result and plan to embed this in the learning throughout the year.


For additional information, contact Erika Cook at or (515) 240-3103.

Art teacher and student

Educator Quality guidance documents

New ‘one-click’ for information on evaluator approval and educator evaluation


Two new documents will be released by Bureau of Leading, Teaching, Learning Services that will be helpful to leaders in implementing effective educator evaluation systems in Iowa schools, districts, and area education agencies.


According to Matt Ludwig, educator quality consultant, the documents are intended to provide comprehensive guidance on implementing Iowa’s educator evaluation system and designing an evaluator approval course.


The idea to compile all the educator evaluation information into one document came about when the Leadership Training and Design Team (LTDT), which is led by the DE and includes representation from leadership at the AEA, district, school, and educator preparation levels, met earlier this year and looked at how other states handled the implementation of their educator quality legislation. “Almost all of them had a handbook, in which all of the information was housed under one click,” he said.


Called the Iowa Model Educator Evaluation System User Guide 2019-2020, the handbook contains sections on the history/background of educator evaluation, teacher evaluation, information specific to AEAs, and school leader evaluation. It also contains all of the forms that have been developed to support educator evaluation. Ludwig said this document should be available on the Department’s website this fall.


A second document, Designing an Iowa Evaluator Approval Training Course, will be released soon. “Our intent has always been to provide more and varied opportunities for school leaders to access training for evaluation. AEAs and school districts were very interested in doing this so we decided we could create guidance that clarified the requirements.” Then entities could design and the LTDT would review and offer feedback on the proposals, Ludwig said.


The LTDT tested their plan last week. Ludwig said they had two proposals to review. “We spent an hour on each one and gave some really good critical feedback. We agreed the proposals were going to move forward with a few tweaks. We feel really good about this process moving forward,” he said.


For more information, contact Matt Ludwig at or 515-559-7250.

Dr. Comfort Akwaji-Anderson

Teachers are mathematics identity builders

Mathematics education Comfort Akwaji-Anderson explores the issue of building strong mathematics identities in students, especially students of color, in this month’s Voice from the Field. She suggests that teachers need to build or deepen their awareness of race, disparities, and the potential for implicit bias  and offers ideas about how teachers might approach this learning. 

Computer Science is Elementary

Computer Science is Elementary

Grants now awarded to 12 schools


Twelve elementary schools throughout Iowa have been awarded grants to transform themselves into models of elementary computer science instruction. Each of the schools listed below will receive $50,000 and are expected to have their model programs operating by 2020-21. The schools receiving the funding include the following:

  • Denison Elementary in the Denison Community School District
  • Lenihan Intermediate in the Marshalltown Community School District
  • Cora B. Darling Elementary in the Postville Community School District
  • East Union Elementary in the East Union Community School District
  • Perry Elementary in the Perry Community School District
  • Richardson Elementary in the Fort Madison Community School District
  • Pocahontas Elementary in the Pocahontas Area Community School District
  • Franklin Elementary in the Boone Community School District
  • Hospers Elementary in the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District
  • Storm Lake Elementary in the Storm Lake Community School District
  • Kingsley-Pierson Elementary in the Kingsley-Pierson Community School District
  • Whittier Elementary in the Clinton Community School District

Inspiration for the project came from Loess Hills Computer Programming School in Sioux City, which will receive a $50,000 grant to continue to serve as a resource.

This is a joint project of the Iowa Department of Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Funding for the project came from the private sector and a grant from the STEM Advisory Council, who is funded through the legislature.


The funding allows these elementary schools to pay their team for time to plan professional development, consider curriculum, and develop an implementation plan around Iowa's Computer Science Standards which were adopted in 2018, according to Wren Hoffman, computer science consultant at the Iowa Department of Education.


“The conversations have already started and planning is underway. These schools will serve as models to the rest of the state, about how, when, where, and what,” she said. “You can hear the excitement in their voices,” Hoffman said. “They can't wait to get started.”


For more information, contact Wren Hoffman at or (515) 981-3306.

Elementary school aged girls looking at laptop

Improving the odds

After-school programming supports at-risk children

Iowa’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) programs are continuing to contribute to the lives of at-risk children by helping them improve attendance and behavior, and make gains in reading and mathematics.  


21CCLC is a U.S. Department of Education program, administered by the states, supporting out-of-school time learning opportunities for students in high-poverty, low-performing areas. The Iowa Department of Education administers 21CCLC funding through grant competitions. Each site is funded for up to five years.


In 2011, Iowa served 6,203 students at 51 sites, and now serves 17,073 in 103 sites because of community partnerships. These community partners increased from 24 (in 2011) to 729 (today). Because of community collaboration, the program is able to serve more children and better support families and communities. “Getting community partners has been a focus in my training this past year,” said Vic Jaras, program consultant at the Department. 


This year Iowa received $6,789,541 in federal funding.  Eleven awards were made to districts and community groups to serve 1,555 children in 25 sites.  The program supports before- and after-school programming in 3 high schools, 18 middle schools, and 84 elementary schools.


21CCLC programs focus on academic support (helping students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects), academic enrichment (providing activities that complement learning from the school day), and parent engagement (offering literacy and educational services to the families of participating students).


A statistic that Jaras is particularly pleased to report is the decrease in youth crime. According to the Council Bluffs police department, the city has had a 51 percent decline between 2014 and 2018 in youth crime Council Bluffs. Sioux City police report a reduction of 37 percent during the same time period.   Student behavior has improved because of this program. The percentage of all 21st Century regular participants with teacher-reported improvements in student behavior was 61percent statewide.


A new grant competition that will start in September.  There will be three face-to-face technical assistance meetings and one statewide webinar.  Grant reviewers are needed and this is a great way to learn more about the program.  Updates will be posted on the IDOE website:


For more information, contact Vic Jaras at or (515) 402-2729.