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June 01, 2017

NIET News: Lessons from the 2017 TAP Conference

Lessons from the 2017 TAP Conference
G.W. Carver Primary School in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, wins the 2017 TAP Founder's Award—and $50,000 cash prize.
Thank You, Educators!

Leadership! Collaboration! Action!

All were in full swing at the 17th Annual National TAP Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. To the more than 1,000 attendees involved with NIET's initiatives, we thank you for joining us for excitement-filled festivities specifically designed to support the crucial work you do for your schools and students every day. As Lowell Milken expressed in his keynote address, you are the vanguard and pioneers, turning big ideas into reality. Dr. Gary Stark echoed the sentiment, noting that "improving the systems that impact teachers is the most important work in education today." Here are key highlights from the presentations, panels, workshops, and more, that we hope will help you prepare for summer training and the year ahead.

Honoring Teachers for Changing Lives

G.W. Carver Primary in Louisiana Receives 2017 TAP Founder's Award

A pinnacle of the TAP conference was the presentation of the 2017 TAP Founder's Award—and $50,000 cash prize—to G.W. Carver Primary School, located in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. The school was chosen among five other finalists across the country: Alice M. Harte Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana; Barrera Veterans Elementary School in Somerset Independent School District, Texas; Dodson Branch School in Jackson County Schools, Tennessee; Hmong College Preparatory Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota; and West Goshen Elementary School in Goshen Community Schools, Indiana.

The success of Carver's approach with TAP helped close the reading gap in the third, fourth and fifth grades. Carver increased its third-grade English Language Arts Academic Index. In the upper grades, proficiency soared from 0 to 75%-and-above in two years' time. As a result, Carver's School Performance Score grew more than seven points, moving its letter grade up from a C- to a B+. The school also received a level 3 value-added growth score on a 1-4 scale, signifying that it exceeded growth targets when compared to similar schools across the state. Watch Carver's inspiring story.

How to Become Catalysts for Advancing Educator Effectiveness

Expanded State Role in the ESSA Era

Every year the TAP Conference connects educators' work in schools to the pressing policies facing the K-12 educational landscape today. This year, Lowell Milken convened Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen, Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White and The Education Trust President and former U.S. Education Secretary Dr. John B. King Jr. to discuss states' greater flexibility in decision-making under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). "Scaling interventions like TAP," said White, would provide trusted evidence-based reform to strengthen schools. McQueen agreed that supporting strong instructional practice through TAP and TEAM can develop "transformational leaders." Read more.

Voices from the Field

How do you maximize the potential of your teacher leaders? What should effective educator and principal evaluation instruments look like? What needs to happen at the school and district levels to sustain educator effectiveness best practices for the long term? Educators and state and district leaders participated on panels throughout the TAP conference to share their expertise. "We're building a culture where teachers want to work in Somerset ISD," said Superintendent Dr. Saul Hinojosa. Read more about harnessing the "how" and keys to sustainability.

Hands-On Training

Maximizing the impact of TAP's professional development "cluster" meetings, analyzing student work, strengthening communication and feedback, and deepening understanding of the NIET teaching standards were among the highly interactive trainings and roundtables at the TAP Conference. Hear from fellow educators and district leaders about their rich experiences and view the photo galleries to relive the moments.

Share Your Story

Assert Your Voice in Education Policy and Practice on a Broader Scale

The TAP Conference demonstrated an indisputable truth: One outstanding educator can have a lasting impact on hundreds—even thousands—of young lives. Imagine the potential of broadening your reach when you connect with a policymaker, invite a reporter into your classroom or join a social media conversation as an expert on the principles that advance educator effectiveness. Here at NIET, we welcome your stories year-round and use them for a variety of purposes at the national level as we support your work in classrooms every day. Here are examples of how you can elevate your voice to a larger audience.

Support legislation. The U.S. Congress recently approved funding for the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (TSL) for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. This will ensure that districts and states awarded TSL (formerly called TIF) grants will receive continued funding. As the Congress considers funding for fiscal year 2018, write a letter to show how TSL benefits your school.

Share your story with NIET. We would love to hear from you. Email or connect with us on Twitter @NIETteach using #ShareYourStory. Your story will be shared on the web, in our newsletter, in meetings with stakeholders, via social media, as a consideration for our TAP in Focus magazine, and more.

Need inspiration? Our 2017 TAP in Focus magazine is filled with stories on new NIET developments, key research findings and showcases educators using TAP to improve teaching and learning every day. Read the issue.

Case-in-point: Keith Simmons, principal of North DeSoto Middle School in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, talked with NIET Senior Trainer Teddy Broussard about what he's done under the TAP System to develop and deploy teacher leaders. The school's work has been so successful that the staff received the prestigious TAP Founder's Award in 2013. View the interview.

Have a wonderful summer, and we wish you every success in your important work to create teacher excellence ... student achievement ... opportunities for all. 

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