Press Releases

Carter Middle School Surprised with TAP School of Promise Award

March 10, 2012


Los Angeles, CA—Leaders from Carter Middle School in Knox County Schools, Tennessee, were surprised with the TAP School of Promise Award, which comes with a financial prize of $5,000. The award honors a school for demonstrated efforts while in the early stages of implementing TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement. The Award was one of four in the nation presented before more than 1,000 educators and policy leaders attending a Saturday luncheon at the 12th National TAP Conference, Building a System of Teacher Leaders. Carter Middle School Principal Michael Derrick accepted the award on the school'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.

"Carter Middle is off to a great start in its first full year of TAP implementation," said Dr. Gary Stark, president and CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), the non-profit public charity that manages and supports the TAP system and presents the TAP School of Promise Award. "Principal Michael Derrick calls upon his administrators, master and mentor teachers to create a culture of high expectations that makes it possible for educators at all levels to be reflective and seek continuous improvement."

Carter Middle School began TAP implementation in the 2011-2012 school year as a result of a federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant to NIET supporting TAP’s expansion with Knox County Schools as a primary partner. Knox County Schools started implementing TAP in the 2006-07 school year with four schools. There are now 18.

Carter Middle prepared for TAP during the 2010-2011 year to lay the groundwork for TAP's comprehensive system of teacher leadership, professional development, support and accountability. Master and mentor teachers were selected, who along with Principal Derrick and his fellow administrators, now form the TAP Leadership Team.

Derrick recognized from the beginning that TAP's shared leadership approach is vital to teacher and student growth. In a short time, Derrick, his administrators and master and mentor teachers have begun to experience the impact of the collaboration TAP fosters through cluster and leadership team meetings. Cluster meetings are the scene of high engagement where teachers are engaged and eager to apply the new learning to their classrooms. TAP Leadership Team members continually strive for proficiency on TAP's core processes and are motivated to create a nurturing learning environment where teachers and students alike can thrive.

Other School of Promise Award recipients include West Goshen Elementary School in Goshen (Goshen Community Schools), Indiana; Judkins Middle School in Pismo Beach (Lucia Mar Unified School District), California; and Aikin Elementary School in New Caney (New Caney Independent School District), Texas.

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 You can also follow the TAP system's live updates on Twitter at