Educators in Iowa today know that never has there been more uncertainty in what lies ahead for schools and educators. What transpires during the next legislative session should clear up this picture to some extent and the governor’s vision for school reform in Iowa is very clear, but gone are the days of being able to successfully predict what will happen next year based on what happened last year. So in this sea of change, what can we rely on as we look to 2013? Here are a few things I believe we can safely predict as we look to the coming year.
Education will increasingly be a team sport. You can still find people who advocate for individual accountability as a driver of school reform even though we know it is what Fullan would consider a wrong driver. In Iowa, however, the reforms advocated by our governor and Department of Education are increasingly calling for team approaches to familiar problems. The state’s recent emphasis on response to intervention and the new proposed teacher development and compensation system are two examples of taking team approaches to raising student performance. Response to intervention is done in teacher teams. Data teams and professional learning communities are springing up in almost every district. The proposed teacher development system with its emphasis on using teachers to mentor and advise other teachers also promotes the idea of professional collegiality and clearly values the importance of teachers working together to improve practice. Learning walks, peer observation, instructional rounds….all team activities and here to stay.