Linn County Educator on Teacher Evaluation Task Force
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
LINN COUNTY, Iowa - On Monday, Iowa's Department of Education Director, Jason Glass, tapped 20 people to sit on his "Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force."
This is part of Governor Branstad's renewed effort for education reform. Last year, lawmakers were lukewarm to many of the ideas. This time, Glass is tapping educators to identify teachers' effectiveness in the classroom. Iowa teachers have previously expressed concern about what a new evaluation system will mean for teacher salaries.
Kim Owen is a former teacher, mother of three and a regional administrator for the Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids. Grant Wood AEA works with multiple districts across Linn County. Owen says her experience working with district leaders and teachers gives her a unique look at educator concerns in local learning systems.
"When I talk to teachers and leaders, I think there are still some things missing. They know there's more they'd like to do," Owen said.
The Iowa legislature now wants Owen and her peers to find these gaps, fill in the pieces, and share their discoveries in hopes of improving student learning across Iowa. Owen suspects that is only the start of a long process.
"Making the recommendation is one thing, actually building an infrastructure to support next steps...is the important next step." Owen says she believes innovative learning is happening all across Iowa. The goal now, she said, is to identify the success stories, grow and expand these good teaching practices.
"There's a lot of folks in our state, not only looking at best practices outside of our state, but also the bright spots and successes we have here locally."
One of these successes, Owen says, is a good collaborative learning environment across Eastern Iowa. Owen says she's seen many local districts encouraging teachers and administrators to challenge each other in positive ways.
The new education task force will meet September 19th from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church (Waveland Rooms I and II), 4126 Ingersoll Ave., in Des Moines. The task for will give its recommendations to the Iowa legislature by November 15th.
Members of the Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force are as follows:
Salvadore Aguirre, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines
Sarah Brown Wessling, Johnston Community School District, Johnston
Mary Jane Cobb, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines
Joan Crowl, Glenwood Community School District, Glenwood
Byron Darnall, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
Melissa Devereaux, Newell-Fonda Community School District, Newell
Tom Downs, Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines
Shaelynn Farnsworth, BCLUW Community School District, Conrad
Jessica Gogerty, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines
Joen Larson, Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Clinton
Duane Magee, Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, Des Moines
Erin Olsen, Sioux Central Community School District, Sioux Rapids
Kim Owen, Grant Wood Area Educational Agency, Cedar Rapids
Mary Beth Schroeder Fracek, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
Dan Smith, School Administrators of Iowa, Des Moines
Greg Smith, Fort Madison Community School District, Fort Madison
Jeff Thelander, Lawton-Bronson Community School District, Lawton
David Tilly, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
Mary Herring, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Cynthia Wissler, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines