TLC Program at East Sac County
by Tammy Vine
Iowa began a Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) program in the 2014-2015 school year. By the 2017-18 school year, all of Iowa’s districts including ESC were participating. TLC provides leadership opportunities and higher pay to effective teachers, attracts and retains new teachers with competitive starting salaries and more support, and it promotes more collaboration for all teachers so that they can learn from each other. In essence, TLC helps to improve student learning by improving their daily instruction. Annually, all school districts must review and revise their TLC plan.
Instructional and Induction Coaches
East Sac County uses the New Teacher Center model to assist its veteran and new teachers improve their teaching practice. Mentored by Prairie Lakes AEA consultant, Jaymie Randal, ESC currently has four teachers who fulfill the different roles and responsibilities of instructional or induction coaches in the district.
The primary responsibility of the Instructional Coach is to support teachers in meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. They help teachers write their Individual Career Development plan and conduct a coaching cycle each year with veteran teachers. A cycle includes planning and implementing effective instructional practices and strategies, analyzing student learning, and providing equitable access to grade level standards.
Instructional Coaches (ICs) collaborate with the administrative team as well as Prairie Lakes AEA consultants to provide quality Professional Development for teachers. The ICs coordinate “summer learning” that teachers participate in before the school year starts and assist new and new-to-ESC teachers in learning about various initiatives at East Sac County such as Responsive Classroom, Executive Functioning Skills, etc.
Currently, three people take on the instructional coaching duties at ESC. Sammie Bruce has served as the combined TLC Coordinator/Instructional Coach since the inception of the program five years ago. Besides coaching teachers, Bruce’s responsibilities have included collecting and reporting out on ESC’s data. She primarily works with elementary and middle school teachers. Another full time Instructional Coach at ESC is Abbie Julin who primarily works primarily with elementary and middle school teachers although she coaches three teachers at the high school. The third instructional coach at ESC is Tammy Vine. Working with high school teachers in Lake View and at the Alternative Center, Vine also spends part of every day teaching upper level Spanish classes.
Another important coach at ESC is Sheila Welander, the induction coach for ESC’s beginning teachers. Welander has spent the last two years working with the first and second year teachers at ESC and SCC. Each beginning teacher collaborates with Welander at least 180 minutes a month, completing a coaching cycle every quarter.
Other TLC roles at East Sac County
Many teachers at East Sac County participate in the Teacher Leader Compensation programs; these teachers receive some compensation for different teacher leader roles but continue to teach fulltime in the classroom. These have included: mentor teachers who work with induction teachers (first or second year) as well as teachers who are new to the district. The mentor teachers provide support, act as a critical friend and sounding board, assist with planning and give constructive feedback. Another teacher role that various instructors have taken on is that of Professional Learning Community (PLC) leaders. Their responsibilities include making sure that the PLC is focusing on teaching and learning, student engagement, and assessment. The PLC leaders support their peers in identifying student learning needs and facilitate discussions about improving instructional practices. Collaboration with administrators, instructional coaches, and their peers is a key component of their job.