OTTUMWA — The community has formally advised the school district that strong teachers lead to strong students. Now Ottumwa teachers have "coaches" to help them boost educational muscle.
Though the idea is now formalized under a Legislative state plan, for years Ottumwa's education chief has encouraged educators to work together in order to improve.
"I think that's why we were so successful in receiving the grant," said Davis Eidahl, superintendent of Ottumwa schools. "We already had a plan in place that we were implementing."
They'd requested funding in a competitive reward process to continue and expand the "collaboration" they'd found so useful.
"Within our application, we had to design how we'd use teacher leadership funds," said Eidahl. "The $1.4 million helps us expand what we were already doing."
Ottumwa is one of the districts that will get this money every year during the course of the program.
"We've had a curriculum leader position, we've had a technology coach, we've had an instructional coach. They support learning and growth [of teachers directly]," Eidahl said.
The three full-time and two part-time teachers of the teachers, however, were "spread very thin across the district," the superintendent said.
"Now we're able to expand that, with 12 full-time positions," Eidahl said. "These have all been classroom teachers in our system. They know our initiatives, and have a good feel for our plan and vision. These positions were actually selected through an administrative and teacher committee. The process was very rigorous."
A classroom teacher who believed they had skills to offer could submit an application. Those applications are then screened by a teacher committee, but all the names are blocked out. The ones that made it through would then be passed on to the administrative committee.