Leaders from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) and Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs) have formalized a partnership called Collaborating for Iowa Kids. The partnership began in June of 2011 to more closely work together on a shared vision for education in our state. The push was made, in large part, due to the fact that other states and countries have surpassed student progress in Iowa for about a decade. This global outlook is the new benchmark.
A transformation of Iowa’s educational system begins with clarity of vision and collaborative work by the DE and the AEAs. The combined efforts will make the most effective use of state resources, provide coherent supports for local schools and, ultimately, increase supports for student learning across the state. This will work when there is engagement with families, schools, communities and legislators so that students can thrive in a global community.
The Collaborating for Iowa Kids members consist of DE leadership team personnel and AEA chief administrators, special education directors, educational services directors and media and technology directors. This group plans to meet once each month to create clarity of the state’s direction and outcomes for students and educators.
The strategies include:
1) commit to creating and working as an effective AEA-DE partnership;
2) create a culture of ownership of student success;
3) engage every educator at every level with teams focused on implementation of the Iowa Core to ensure every student is college, career and citizenship ready; and
4) ensure that we have highly engaged students and highly effective teachers in the presence of rigorous content.
The core values of the group will be reflected in every decision made by the partnership. Those values are:
Students First. We base every decision we make on the interest of students.
Accountability. We are accountable for high levels of learning for each and every student and provide frequent progress updates to stakeholders on significant learning outcomes.
Partnership and Collaboration. We leverage human and financial resources across the system to maximize benefits for students, families and educators.
Equity. We provide each learner with the level of support needed to be successful. Equity does not mean equal.
Quality Services. We take actions that achieve positive results for children.
Innovation. We foster a culture of innovation.
A large part of the success of this partnership will depend on the AEA system’s ability to take “ownership of student success, continuously clarifying ever-changing roles and responsibilities” for the DE, AEA system and school districts and implementing “focused strategies.”
It is a very exciting and challenging time to be in education right now. Our planning for success will dictate our future!
Please feel free to share any ideas you have in this new endeavor.