Los Angeles, CA—Leaders of the Lancaster Independent School District, located southeast of Dallas, Texas, were surprised with the TAP Award of Distinction, which honors an organization for its dedication and commitment to TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement. The Award was presented before more than a thousand educators and policy leaders attending a Friday luncheon at the 12th National TAP Conference, Building a System of Teacher Leaders. Superintendent Dr. Michael McFarland accepted the award on the district's behalf.
TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement is a revolutionary education reform that offers teachers opportunities for career advancement, ongoing job-embedded professional growth, educator evaluation and performance-based compensation. The implementation of TAP's comprehensive elements is proven to strengthen teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Lancaster Independent School District adopted the TAP system in the 2007-08 school year with two schools and implementation is now districtwide.
"I commend Dr. McFarland's leadership and commitment to TAP as Lancaster ISD's core strategy to advance teacher quality and student learning," said Dr. Gary Stark, president and CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, the non-profit public charity that manages and supports the TAP system and presents the TAP Award of Distinction. "Student achievement growth validates the district's efforts to stay true to the TAP model."
Lancaster ISD has experienced significant growth since the implementation of the TAP system. In 2006, leaders needed a systemic education reform to meet the needs of their 6,000 students. With support from the Texas Education Agency, the local school board, district administrators, teachers, and community members led by Superintendent McFarland came together to utilize TAP as the district's core strategy to advance teacher effectiveness and student growth.
"I was introduced to TAP when I arrived to the district, and quickly realized it could lead us toward a transformation," said McFarland. "TAP is the system of professional development and accountability that we need in order to ensure that our kids become college-and-career-ready."
From day one and throughout TAP's expansion, Lancaster ISD has implemented the system with a high level of fidelity to reach this goal. Each school has selected master and mentor teachers who, along with the principal and other administrators, form the TAP Leadership Team. The hiring process for mentor and master teacher positions in Lancaster ISD has been selective and extensive. Principals and district officials carefully selected interview committees on each campus and recruited talent from inside and outside of the district.
The TAP Leadership Teams are critically important to driving instruction through weekly collaborative professional development and follow-up, classroom observations and pre- and post-conferences with every teacher.
For the 2010-11 school year, the district average for value-added student gains was greater than 4.5 on a 5-point scale, signifying above average growth results compared to similar schools in Texas. According to the Texas Education Agency, five of the seven TAP schools received a "Recognized" rating.
"TAP works," said Cosheda Hurd, TAP master teacher at G.W. Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center. "TAP teaches teachers how to be better, which only allows their students to be better."
Other districts receiving the TAP Award of Distinction are the DeSoto Parish School System in Louisiana, Laurens County School District 56 in South Carolina and Lincoln Consolidated School District in Arkansas.
Photos of the TAP Awards of Distinction are available for download in the TAP website newsroom. The TAP Award of Distinction profile video for Lancaster Independent School District is available on the TAP website videos page at and on the TAP system's YouTube channel.
The TAP Recognition Awards are funded by the Lowell Milken Family Foundation.
Introduced in 1999, TAP impacts more than 20,000 teachers and 200,000 students. For more information on TAP or the 12th National TAP Conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, visit www.tapsystem.org. You can also follow the TAP system's live updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tapsystem.
Taking Resources from Students and Giving them to Administrators
April 11, 2013
Falls Village, CT
Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrice Pujol and Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr., accept TAP Awards of Distinction from NIET Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken (far left) and NIET President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gary Stark (far right). The award comes with a financial prize of $10,000.
Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. James P. McIntyre accepts the TAP Award of Distinction from NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken (far right) and NIET President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gary Stark (far left). The award comes with a financial prize of $10,000
TAP Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken moderates the panel "The TAP System: Advancing Educator Effectiveness in Practice" at the 2013 TAP Conference in Washington D.C. He shares the stage with distinguished educators from across the country who share their experiences implementing TAP at the classroom, district and state level. From left to right: TAP Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken, Lady’s Island Middle School Principal in Beaufort County Schools, South Carolina, Mona Lise Dickson; Judkins Middle School Master Teacher at Judkins Middle School in the Lucia Mar Unified School District, California, Alyssa Labrado; Tennessee Superintendent of Knox County Schools James P. McIntyre Jr.; East Iberville Elementary School Master Teacher in Iberville Parish Schools, Louisiana, Larry Minor; Constitution Elementary School Principal in Deer Valley Unified School District, Arizona, Mark Oesterle; Superintendent of Ascension Parish Schools, Louisiana, Patrice Pujol and NIET President and CEO Dr. Gary Stark.
NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken presents the 2013 TAP Founder's Award to North DeSoto Middle School, located in Stonewall, Louisiana. The award comes with a financial prize of $50,000. Pictured from left to right are NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken, Louisiana District-Based State Executive Master Teacher Nicole Bolen, DeSoto Parish Schools Director of Student Learning Kathy Noel, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), North DeSoto Middle School TAP Master Teacher Vicki Cabra, North DeSoto Middle School TAP Master Teacher Deania McMillian, North DeSoto Middle School Principal Keith Simmons, Louisiana TAP Executive Director Sheila Talamo, DeSoto Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley, and NIET President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gary Stark.
TAP Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken stands with panelists from the State Education Reform and Role of Teacher Effectiveness Panel, for which he served as moderator on Friday, March 8 during the 2013 National TAP Conference in Washington, D.C. From left to right: South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mitchell Zais, U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Carmel Martin, Tennessee Assistant Commissioner of Teachers and Leaders Dr. Sara Heyburn, TAP Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Guthrie, Director at the Iowa Department of Education Dr. James Glass and NIET President and CEO Dr. Gary Stark.
Principals accept the TAP Ambassador Award for 2013, which comes with a financial prize of $5,000. Pictured from left to right are NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken; Principal Ed Burnes from Battery Creek High School in Beaufort County School District, South Carolina; Principal Danny Mendez from Southport Elementary School in the Metropolitan School District of Perry Township, Indiana; Principal Mary Ann Spears from Lincoln High School in the Lincoln Consolidated School District, Arkansas; Principal Julie Fahey from Queen Palmer Elementary School in Colorado Springs School District 11, Colorado; Principal Dr. Esrom Pitre from Donaldsonville High School in Ascension Parish Schools, Louisiana; Principal Dr. Mark Oesterle from Constitution Elementary School in Deer Valley School District, Arizona; and NIET President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gary Stark.