Is your district ready for the Iowa Core?
A review of current Iowa Core Plans has revealed that there is substantial variation in both the intensity and focus of work toward full implementation. School leaders are reminded that Iowa Core work should be a priority at this time.
Schools across Iowa should be fully involved at this point. High schools were required to have implementation plans in place by July 1, 2010, with full implementation occurring by July 1, 2012. Kindergarten-through-eighth-grade plans were required by July 1, 2012, with full implementation by 2014-2015.
Full implementation is accomplished when the district or school is able to provide evidence that an ongoing process is in place to ensure that each and every student is learning the standards of the Iowa Core in all required content areas – English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and 21st Century Skills.
The Iowa Department of Education’s expectation is that each school has developed collaborative teams who are reviewing the standards and determining how well the standards are being implemented. A school that has fully implemented the Iowa Core is engaged in a continuous improvement process of data gathering and analysis, decision making, identifying actions, and assessing impact around alignment and professional development focused on content, instruction, and assessment.
All secondary schools are reminded that they must systemically identify the specific standards that must be taught in specific courses. School personnel are also responsible for working with each secondary student to create a plan of study (ex. I Have a Plan Iowa) that incorporates coursework that covers all of the standards and essential concepts and skills for grades 6-12. Every student in Iowa is to graduate having learning the standards and essential concepts and skills of the Iowa Core.
The Iowa Core Teacher Quality funds will continue to be available to support the implementation of the Iowa Core. The use and distribution of these funds must be approved by the Teacher Quality Committee in each district. These funds must be used to support professional development – either training or work to implement the Iowa Core. Some appropriate uses include the following:
- Iowa Core professional development, such as Investigating the Iowa Core, Deeper Investigations, Assessment for Learning, or Exploring the Iowa Core through Collaborative Teams.
- Time beyond the contracted school day for teachers to engage in Iowa Core training and local district planning that incorporates components of the Iowa Core.
- Costs for substitutes while teachers attend professional development.
- Professional development designed to enhance instruction, such as Authentic Intellectual Work, Gradual Release of Responsibility, or Cognitively Guided Instruction.
Inappropriate uses might include the following:
- Paying administrators to engage in Iowa Core work.
- Paying teachers to engage in routine textbook adoption cycles.
- Paying teachers to conduct lesson planning during the contracted school day.
- Buying textbooks, instructional materials, technology, or equipment.
Districts and Department-accredited nonpublic schools are required to report their progress in implementing the Iowa Core as part of the C-Plan reporting, which is due Sept. 15, 2014. The Iowa Core Network, which comprises consultants from each of the Area Education Agencies in the state, is developing a plan for support for districts and schools in completing the Iowa Core section of the C-Plan.