Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Teacher Quality Act and Professional Development

A new era for professional development

Thanks to SF 277, school administrators and local school boards no longer have sole authority to determine the use of professional development funding. Instead, those decisions will now be made by local teacher quality committees made up of an equal number of teachers and administrators. The teacher representatives are appointed by the ISEA local association.

The legislation eliminates the mandated extra days for professional development and instead appropriates up to $20 million to fund locally designed district and AEA professional development programs. The law does, however, call for a goal of one additional day, or its equivalent, to be used for professional development purposes.

SF 277 also allows the professional development funds to be used to pay salaries for time spent beyond the normal negotiated agreement as well as to pay for such things as substitute teachers, materials, speakers, and costs associated with implementing the individual professional development plans. These funds must be used to supplement, not supplant, the professional development opportunities the school district would otherwise make available.

In addition to the previously required district professional development plan and the individual plan for each teacher, SF 277 adds the requirement that each attendance center develop an attendance center professional development plan. The plan must be based upon the needs of teachers, the Iowa teaching standards, the district professional development plan, and the student achievement goals of the attendance center and the district.