Press Releases

Judkins Middle School Surprised with TAP School of Promise Award

March 10, 2012


Los Angeles, CA—Leaders from Judkins Middle School in Pismo Beach, California, 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. Judkins Middle School Principal Ian Penton 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.

"Judkins Middle School's careful preparation for TAP and collaboration with stakeholders helped pave the way for rigorous implementation in the first full year," 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 Ian Penton, master teachers Ed Alarcio and Alyssa LaBrado and all members of the leadership team hit the ground running on their work to develop the strengths of all teachers, rooted in the TAP Teaching Standards and quality instructional feedback."

Judkins Middle School is one of seven schools in the Lucia Mar Unified School District that began TAP implementation in the 2011-2012 school year. TAP is supported by grants from the federal Teacher Incentive Fund and the Stuart Foundation awarded to the district in 2010.

Judkins 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. Attendance at the National TAP Conference and TAP's CORE training helped Judkins Middle leaders delve into TAP's core processes and shape their goals.

The Judkins Middle TAP Leadership Team quickly embraced the tenets of the TAP system. The administrators, master and mentor teachers bring together their diverse skill sets to create a cohesive team to maximize the potential of the faculty and students. Ed Alarcio and Alyssa LaBrado established a sense of trust and credibility vital to teachers’ support of TAP, and along with Principal Penton, continually work to transform the school climate into a nurturing environment for all to thrive.

Other School of Promise Award recipients include West Goshen Elementary School in Goshen (Goshen Community Schools), Indiana; Carter Middle School in Strawberry Plains (Knox County Schools), Tennessee; 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