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Teacher Leadership & Compensation System (TLC)

TLC Background

Iowa's Teacher Leadership and Compensation System (TLC) 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 overriding philosophy of the system is multi-pronged but boils down to this: Improving student learning requires improving the instruction students receive each day. There is no better way to do this than to empower our best teachers to lead the effort.

Through the system, teacher leaders take on extra responsibilities, including helping colleagues analyze data and fine tune instructional strategies as well as coaching and co-teaching.

Bipartisan legislation created a four-year process to fully develop the statewide TLC System, with the goal of all school districts voluntarily participating by the 2016-17 school year.

The goals of the TLC System are:

  • Attract able and promising new teachers by offering competitive starting salaries and offering short-term and long-term professional development and leadership opportunities.

  • Retain effective teachers by providing enhanced career opportunities.

  • Promote collaboration by developing and supporting opportunities for teachers in schools and school districts statewide to learn from each other.

  • Reward professional growth and effective teaching by providing pathways for career opportunities that come with increased leadership responsibilities and involve increased compensation.

  • Improve student achievement by strengthening instruction.

Heartland AEA Assistance

Heartland AEA has provided technical assistance to districts as they wrote TLC grant applications--providing a grant writing checklist and reviewing the grants before final submission to the Iowa Department of Education. The Agency also provides professional learning opportunities for area teacher leaders such as Instructional Coaching, Facilitating Adult Learning and High Impact Collaborative Structures for Implementing MTSS.

TLC Professional Learning Opportunities

For more information about TLC supports at Heartland AEA, contact:

photo of Kevin Fangman

Kevin Fangman
Chief Academic Officer
(800) 255-0405 ext. 14374


For more information about Iowa's TLC system, visit:

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