Alex Ford, a new teacher at Meeker Elementary School, is grateful for the help she received from her Mentor Teacher to prepare for her first parent-teacher conferences.

“It can be intimidating as a young teacher to talk to parents twice my age, some with degrees that it will take many more years for me to achieve,” she said. “It’s great to have my Mentor Teacher’s support and encouragement throughout the whole process.”

Ford said her Mentor Teacher helped by not only giving advice on the logistics of using the District’s student data system, which is a maze in itself, but she also encouraged Ford to not be nervous.

“She reassured me that in all her years as a teacher, she’s never had a bad conference,” Ford said.

Mentor Teachers are just one example of how Teacher Leadership is helping district teachers collaborate and learn from each other, says Teacher Leader Coordinator Lisa Clayberg.

Clayberg says teacher leadership has long been a hallmark of Ames Community School District’s practices.

“But with this being the first year of the Teacher Leadership Grant, things are definitely moving forward because we have an opportunity to have a variety of Teacher Leaders in place.”

Clayberg said, for example, 49 different teachers took advantage of observing Model Teachers within the first quarter of school.

Alex Reideman, a teacher at Edwards Elementary School, said teachers understand how important modeling is for students, and that they need modelling for their own learning, too.

“Being able to observe a Model Teacher allowed me to see what things could possibly look like in my classroom and has made a big difference in my teaching already,” she said.

Clayberg said other teacher leaders, such as Instructional Coaches and Teachers on Special Assignment, are providing different forms of professional development all throughout this school year.

“TOSAs have been working right alongside the teachers as they grow their practices to benefit students,” she said.

For a closer look at what’s happening with Teacher Leadership in the Ames Community School District, follow along with the Teacher Leader Blog, Twitter @ACSDTL and Instragram ACSDTL.