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Iowa: Working in Education in Iowa

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Educational Management

Iowa ranked 42nd among all states for the average total amount it spent to educate each student in 2007-2008. In that school year Iowa spent $8,432 per student when the national average was $9,963.

The Administrator Quality program promotes high school achievement and enhances educator quality throughout the state of Iowa. Iowa offers educational managers a number of learning, support, and professional development opportunities. The Principal's Center is a forum for school leaders to enhance their skills for leading learning. Through the center school leaders participate in networking, collaboration, and coaching and develop leadership plans for their schools. The Iowa Leadership Academy sponsors a virtual leadership center. School Administrators of Iowa sponsors a mentoring and induction program that offers support, professional development, and access to resources for education leaders.

Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267) provides educational leadership, support, and services to help increase student achievement. AEA 267 supports educators in developing quality curriculum, effective instructional practices, and targeted assessment in order to improve student learning.

Educational Technology

Educational technology in Iowa works to develop the potential of students with the technology skills they will need for careers and continued learning. To that end, Iowa has established a virtual academy and requires technology testing for teachers. Additional technology initiatives include:

  • The Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy, which delivers Advanced Placement courses to high school students anywhere in Iowa. The academy gives students, especially those in rural and small schools in Iowa, opportunity to take online college-level courses while they are still in high school;
  • Iowa Learning Online, which helps Iowa school districts expand learning opportunities for their high school students through distance learning;
  • The Iowa Distance Learning Database, which provides access to distance-learning opportunities in the state of Iowa K-12 and higher education; and
  • Iowa Learning Online, which is designed to help local school districts expand learning opportunities for students through online lesson plans, online support materials, and other resources.

Curriculum and Instruction

Iowa developed its own core curriculum rather than adopting another state's because it determined no other curriculum addressed all of Iowa's education needs. The mandated Iowa Core Curriculum identifies the essential concepts and skills in the content areas of literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and 21st century skills. Schools and districts are required to graduate students who have learned these concepts and skills.

Teacher's Aides

The Guide to Effective Paraeducator Practices in Iowa (Edition II) is a resource for education personnel, parents, and postsecondary faculty and students. The Guide recognizes the essential role administrators play in increasing the capacity of paraeducators to meet student needs.

While paraeducator certification is not mandatory in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Education strongly recommends that school entities encourage paraeducators to obtain certificates that are appropriate to their roles. At least one postsecondary institution in Iowa offers courses that meet the voluntary Iowa Paraeducator Certification requirements.

The ParaLink website keeps Iowa paraeducators and administrators informed about certification, training, classroom strategies, and resources for education paraprofessionals.

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