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News Release

January 3, 2013


Grant Wood AEA
Communications Office

Grant Wood AEA will share part of a $14.68 million federal grant from US Department of Education

Award will expand successful new teacher effectiveness work in Broward County Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools and Grant Wood Area Education Agency

Cedar Rapids, IA (January 3, 2013) – Grant Wood Area Education Agency has been named as an educational partner to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to the agency’s Chief Administrator, Joe Crozier. This is the first time that any area education agency or school district in Iowa has received a competitive i3 grant. The agency will receive part of a $14.68 million Investment in Innovation (i3) Validation grant to improve student achievement by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers through a quality mentoring program.

The primary award recipient is the New Teacher Center (NTC) in Santa Cruz, CA. NTC’s grant application was the top-rated (98.83) application among 844 total applicants for the 2012 i3 grant fund of over $140 million. Broward County Public Schools in Florida, Chicago Public Schools in Illinois and GWAEA service area are the three partners expanding their teacher induction programs. The project will serve 164,000 K-12 students and 2,475 first and second year K-12 teachers.

NTC has been the premier provider of high-quality teacher induction across the nation for over 20 years. The organization’s comprehensive approach to teacher induction is a departure from “buddy” mentoring programs commonly found in many school districts. Their approach focuses on high quality teacher development, where mentors support beginning teachers in moving their instructional practice forward ensuring the diverse learning needs of their students are met.

The NTC model has been effective in accelerating teacher effectiveness, retaining these highly effective teachers in the profession, and improving student learning. In Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida, new teacher retention rates have jumped from just 72 percent in 2009-10 to 86 percent in 2010-11, and to 94.5 percent in 2011-12 with NTC’s teacher induction model in place. The U.S. Department of Education research found that beginning teachers who received two years of NTC comprehensive induction support produced greater student learning gains when compared with those who received less intensive mentoring. The goal of this grant is to replicate these results for teachers and students in Grant Wood AEA.


"We are proud to call our colleagues at Grant Wood Area Education Agency partners in this work," says New Teacher Center Founder and CEO Ellen Moir. "They are committed to providing intensive support to new teachers, so students across East Central Iowa get great teachers from the get-go."

Grant Wood AEA has already begun piloting NTC’s full release model with a limited number of schools. In this model, mentors are fully released from classroom duties to observe and give rich feedback to 10-15 new teachers in weekly, one-on-one meetings. The mentors’ work is aligned with the Iowa Professional Teaching Standards, Common Core implementation and driven by expectations in each district’s teacher evaluation system. Mentors are carefully selected from the best teachers in the area and are rigorously trained using NTC’s research-based curriculum and methodology.


“We are confident that this opportunity to partner with NTC will be a catalyst in building and sustaining comprehensive mentoring and induction programs across our rural area consortium by accelerating new teacher development and student learning outcomes for all,” says GWAEA Mentoring and Induction Regional Administrator Kim Owen. “We are excited to partner with NTC to expand this model. It is something that many of our districts have been working towards for several years. Every new teacher in our AEA participating in this grant will benefit from this level of intensive mentoring experience.”

By working as a consortium, the necessary infrastructure and system supports will be available to each of the districts in GWAEA regardless of their size or number of new teachers hired each year.

Grant Wood AEA serves 32 public school districts and 22 approved, nonpublic schools. The service area covers seven counties – Benton Linn, Jones, Iowa, Johnson, Cedar and Washington – which has a total student population of over 70,000 students. The agency also provides special education services for over 9,000 children ages 3 to 21.


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Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

ADDRESS: 4401 Sixth Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
TELEPHONE: 319-399-6700 | 800-332-8488
Fax: 319-399-6457
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