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Our latest report, Unleashing Teacher Leadership, highlights NIET's ten lessons learned on how to make formal, instructional teacher leadership roles the driver of instructional improvement in schools. Download the report.

Effective teachers and principals are the most important school-based factors influencing student achievement. NIET works with partners in states, districts, and schools across the country to advocate for proven, research-based solutions to improving teacher practices and advance federal and state initiatives that make critical investments in educator effectiveness. Take a look at the scope of our work below:

State and Federal Educator Effectiveness Programs

State and federal policy and funding help expand and sustain the work of our partners and is reflected in educator effectiveness as a key strategy to strengthen K–12 education. NIET's work has advanced educator effectiveness programs and initiatives in the states where NIET works. These initiatives include:

State Grants and Programs

Iowa Teacher Leadership and Compensation System (TLC)

The Iowa Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) System, enacted in 2014-15, rewards effective teachers with leadership opportunities and higher pay, attracts promising new teachers with competitive starting salaries and more support, and fosters greater collaboration for all teachers to learn from each other. The Iowa TLC System provides $150 million in annual funds to districts in the state. NIET's work through a TIF grant with Saydel and Central Decatur Community School Districts provided a powerful on-the-ground example of teacher leadership and compensation reform for others in Iowa as the new state system was developed. Read more about the program at the Iowa Department of Education's Teacher Leadership and Compensation System site

Minnesota's Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System
(ATPPS, commonly known as Q Comp)

Similar to the TAP System, ATPPS (also known as Q Comp) encourages the creation of multiple career paths to encourage gifted teachers to remain in the classroom and share their skills with others; a rigorous evaluation and review system with specific performance and accountability goals for every teacher; professional development directly aligned to school and student needs; and enhanced compensation tied to growth in student achievement and demonstration of teaching knowledge and skill. This initiative is a teacher compensation reform package based on many innovative elements pioneered by TAP. Read more about the program on the Minnesota Department of Education's Q Comp site.

Tennessee's TEAM Model

Tennessee's system for teacher evaluation and support, The Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), has been an integral part of statewide improvements in student performance. Due to the strong success of NIET's comprehensive TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, the TAP Teaching Standards were piloted in schools across the state in 2010 and became the basis for the observation component in the TEAM Model. NIET has provided ongoing support to the state-level TEAM coaches supporting school districts across the state. NIET also supported the state in providing in-depth training and certification for evaluators statewide over the summer of 2011, and created a web-based portal to house evaluation data, as well as tools and resources accessible to more than 80,000 Tennessee educators. Read more about the program on the Tennessee Department of Education's TEAM site.

Texas Educator Excellence Innovation Program

Texas revamped its teacher evaluation system and put in place the new T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System). Texas received several TIF grants to implement TAP in multiple school districts. In part based on the TAP record of success, in 2014, the state piloted NIET's TAP System teacher classroom observation system in 50 pilot districts. Following the pilot, the state contracted with NIET to help the state design the teacher observation and feedback portion of T-TESS. NIET also supported the state in building an online portal to house teacher evaluation data and resources. Read more about the program on the T-TESS site.

Federal Programs and Legislation

Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (TSL)

The Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (formerly the Teacher Incentive Fund) provides funding annually for school districts and states to support performance-based compensation and comprehensive human capital management systems for teachers, principals and other school leaders. Through TSL funds, NIET has partnered with states and districts to support their work to advance educator effectiveness. Get the latest updates about TSL on the U.S. Department of Education's TSL site, and read about the impact of TSL on our work by downloading the report, Increasing Educator Effectiveness: Lessons Learned from Teacher Incentive Fund Sites.

Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED)

The SEED grant program provides funding to increase the number of highly effective educators by supporting the implementation of evidence-based preparation, development or enhancement opportunities for educators. NIET has partnered with universities through SEED grants to ensure new teacher candidates have highly effective classroom instructional skills and to help place them in high-need districts that have developed ongoing support structures to bolster their success. Get the latest updates about SEED U.S. Department of Education's SEED site and read about our SEED partnerships by downloading our higher education brief, Training Educators to Be Effective on Day One.

Title II, Part A: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants

Title II-A Teacher Quality State Grants provide funds to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality. This program is carried out by increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in classrooms, increasing the number of highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools, and increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals by holding Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement. Many NIET partner schools use title funds to support their work to advance educator effectiveness. Read more about Title II-A on the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Quality Grants site.

Teachers Are Leaders Act (S. 1413)

NIET supports the Teachers Are Leaders Act, which authorizes the use of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants to fund partnerships between high-need schools and institutes of higher education. This bipartisan act was introduced on June 22, 2017, by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jack Reed (D-RI). The Teachers Are Leaders Act would allow school and university partnerships to use TQP funds to create local teacher leader development programs, increase efforts to recruit and retain teachers, and create new roles and career opportunities for teachers. A short description of the bill can be downloaded here.