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Turning Big Ideas into Reality

Turning Big Ideas into Reality: 
Advancing Educator Effectiveness at the 17th National TAP Conference

Leadership! Collaboration! Action! The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching welcomed more than 1,000 educators, policymakers, researchers and other influential leaders to New Orleans for its 17th TAP Conference. At the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, educators shared successful practices, pored over training materials, and attended panels that put their work into the national context of advancing improvements in American K-12 education.

Strategies illuminated at the conference were timely, as states are busily working on their plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—a federal law that shifts the balance of decision-making power to states in strengthening instruction and student achievement. Conference attendees are playing a critical role on the ground as they institute effective practices that states can pursue to make educator quality the focus of school improvement.

"You are TAP's Vanguard and Pioneers"

In his keynote address, NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken—who was named the 2017 James Bryant Conant Award recipient by the Education Commission of the States—explained that TAP educators have the ability to turn big ideas into realities.

"When Victor Hugo observed that the one thing stronger than all the armies in the world is an idea whose time has come, he was talking about the truth at the heart of TAP," Lowell said. "Big ideas—bold, new, constructive ideas—are essential to the health of society. But to have meaning, they do have to be turned into the reality they stand for. And that kind of positive change occurs only with committed support and with the propulsion of people.

"You—TAP's vanguard and pioneers—are every day illustrating and proving that the quality of an educational system is in direct proportion to the quality of its educators," Lowell continued. "Successful TAP teachers don’t need to be told they are more powerful than an army. They see it in the achievement of their students. And that is thrilling, for education is the key—not only to a productive life, but to everything we value as individuals and citizens."

lowell milken tap founders award

left quoteBig ideas—bold, new, constructive ideas—are essential to the health of society. But to have meaning, they do have to be turned into the reality they stand for."

The NIET team puts these principles into the day-to-day operations of the organization. "Great educators are critically important to the success of our students," said CEO Dr. Gary Stark, a former educator himself. "Improving the systems that impact teachers is the most important work in education today." Read more about NIET’s mission and work on putting educators at the center of education reform in CEO's Corner, a feature in TAP in Focus magazine. 

gary stark

left quoteImproving the systems that impact teachers is the most important work in education today."