A highly competent teacher workforce is a critical foundation for continually improving children's educational outcomes. The Teacher Quality page represents Iowa's efforts for attracting, supporting and retaining a diverse workforce of teachers to develop greater mastery and leadership in their classrooms.

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Iowa Model Educator Evaluation System

The Iowa Model Educator Evaluation System should be understood as an ongoing process rather than a single event. Gathering evidence related to the professional educator standards, reflecting on an educator’s practice, collaborating with colleagues to improve practice and student learning, and providing and using feedback are attributes of continuous improvement in a quality educator evaluation system.

Iowa Model Educator Evaluation System User Guide – The guide is divided into three main sections: Teacher Evaluation, Teacher Evaluation-Area Education Agencies, and School Administrator Evaluation. Each section contains the appropriate professional standards and other resources. For example, the teacher evaluation system provides a table of model descriptors and evidence pertaining to each Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria, a description of the 3-Tiered Teacher Evaluation Framework, an explanation of the Individual Educator Professional Development Plan, and a clarification of practitioner collaboration and peer review. The guide also includes an appendix of sample and required forms related to observations, comprehensive/summative evaluations, individual professional development plans, intensive assistance, school counselor evaluations, etc. Finally, the User Guide contains a glossary to promote a common language in educator evaluation. Updates to the guide will be done annually and communicated to the field via the School Leaders Update and this webpage.

Iowa Model Educator Evaluation System Webinar – Recorded on 11/12/2019. An overview of the User Guide, an update on Guidance for Designing an Evaluator Approval Course and the national leadership standards: Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.

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Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria

The Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria are the very foundation of Iowa's teacher quality efforts. The teaching standards and criteria represent a set of knowledge, skills and dispositions that reflects the best evidence available regarding quality teaching. They are linked to teacher professional development plans and the teacher evaluation system.

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Mentoring and Induction for Beginning Educators

The Department is committed to ensuring a successful entry into the profession for all new teachers and to helping Iowa's schools navigate the legislative requirements to offer high-quality mentoring and induction supports.

The Iowa Mentoring and Induction (M&I) program began as part of the Teacher Quality legislation enacted in 2001. Since that time the purpose of M&I has remained the same: Beginning teacher mentoring and induction support is created to promote excellence in teaching, enhance student achievement, and build a supportive environment within school districts and education agencies to increase the retention of promising beginning teachers and promote the personal and professional well-being of all teachers.

The Iowa Department of Education is steadfast in ensuring a successful entry into the profession for all new teachers. Although recent legislation has made changes to previous code, it did not eliminate the need for districts to support beginning teachers as they meet the Iowa Teaching Standards and Criteria (ITS&C) and develop enhanced instructional practices. The Department is also committed to helping schools navigate this change while ensuring new teachers continue to receive the support they need and deserve.

District Options and Plan Templates

As a result of the 2017 changes to legislation, districts have two options to support beginning teachers:

Option 1: Continue to Provide a Beginning Teacher Mentoring and Induction Program

Districts may continue to provide a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program that contains specific strategies to support beginning teachers in the competencies of the ITS&C, teacher evaluation, instructional practices and district and building professional development aimed at increasing student achievement.  Each school district that offers a beginning teacher mentoring and induction program shall provide for a two-year sequence of induction, program content and activities to support the Iowa teaching standards and beginning teacher professional and personal needs. To develop this program, please use the plan template found below. The plan shall be included in the school district’s comprehensive school improvement plan submitted pursuant to Iowa Code section 256.7, subsection 21.

Option 2: Utilize the District’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Plan for Supporting New Teachers

School districts may implement an approved career paths, leadership roles, and compensation framework (TLC) or approved comparable system as provided in section 284.15 that specifically addresses the needs of beginning teachers. Districts that choose to utilize the TLC framework to address the needs of beginning teachers should review Part 4 of their approved TLC plan to ensure it clearly describes how the district will utilize teacher leaders and resources to improve entry into the teaching profession for new teachers. District administrators may want to include in the TLC plan, Part 4, the components of a beginning teacher program as provided in section 284.5. Any revisions to TLC plans, Part 4, should be submitted for approval through the TLC Plan Change request process.

Plan Change Information

Definitions

Beginning Teacher

Every educator in their first and second year in the profession should be assigned to a mentor teacher who will train the beginning teacher in the Iowa Teaching Standards & Criteria and will support both the personal and professional development of the new professional. 

Beginning teacher means an individual serving under an initial, Class A, exchange, or intern license, issued by the board of educational examiners under Iowa Code chapter 272, and who is assuming a position as a classroom teacher or preschool teacher employed by a school district or area education agency. In 2006, guidance counselors, teacher librarians, and interns (hired under alternative licensure) were approved to participate in the mentoring and induction program in addition to classroom teachers.

Mentor Teacher

Mentor means an individual employed by a school district or area education agency as a teacher or a retired teacher who holds a valid license issued under chapter 272. The individual must have a record of three years of successful teaching practice, must be employed on a non-probationary basis, and must demonstrate professional commitment to both the improvement of teaching and learning and the development of beginning teachers.

District

District efforts toward supporting beginning teachers should include training for mentor teachers, training for beginning teachers in the eight ITS&C and release time for the pair to plan, observe and analyze instructional practice. Each district is required to identify a facilitator who is responsible for overseeing beginning teacher supports, submitting a written plan and revisions that represent the components found in legislation for both programming for beginning teacher induction as well as additional supports implemented through the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program.

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Iowa Professional Development Model

Iowa Professional Development Model Technical Guide – This is a 129-page technical guide provides guidance and technical assistance for Iowa school districts to use when designing and supporting their District & Building-level Professional Development Plans.

District/Building Plan Template 

District/Building Profile: Iowa Professional Development Model

Rubric for Developing District/Building Profile - The purpose of the profile is to guide the district/building administrators, the Professional Development (PD) Leadership Team, and the PD provider in conducting an optional self-analysis of the effectiveness of their district/building professional development. By reviewing what is in place for PD at the district and building level, district leaders have an opportunity to make adjustments and add supports to ensure that the professional development provided to teachers results in improved instructional practices and increased student achievement. This rubric is offered as a tool to analyze and describe the status of PD plans, processes, and learning opportunities.

Provider Approval

Providers are those individuals, agencies, or organizations that serve the school district by providing long term, ongoing support for the District Professional Development Plan. This document explains the provider requirements and procedures for approval.

Law and Guidance

Iowa Code section 284.6 - Teacher professional development

Extended Guidance on Practitioner Collaboration and Peer Review

Reference Guide for Required Professional Development - There are some types of training required for various school personnel that result from laws outside of education. In most instances, training sessions to meet these requirements would not be included in the District Professional Development Plan. This document provides guidance for topical or specific content intended for individuals with specialized assignments or roles that necessitate specific training.

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Teacher Quality Committee

Teacher Quality Committee Guidance - Provides guidance to questions regarding the Teacher Quality Committee.

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