2017 TAP Founder's Award Finalists Honored at National Conference

March 24, 2017

2017 TAP Founder's Award Finalists Honored at National Conference

New Orleans, Louisiana—The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) today recognized the six schools under consideration for the TAP Founder's Award, the organization's highest honor, which comes with a $50,000 cash prize. Created by NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken, the TAP Founder's Award is presented annually to one school for exceptional efforts to implement and represent the principles of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement—resulting in improvements in student achievement, among other goals.

Each finalist received a plaque and $10,000 during a luncheon at the National TAP Conference in New Orleans, attended by 1,000 top educators and education leaders from across the country.

Lowell Milken and NIET CEO Dr. Gary Stark were on hand to congratulate the finalists:

"All six schools, from a diverse set of communities across the nation, represent powerful models of educational excellence," said Milken. "I congratulate Harte, Barrera, Dodson Branch, Hmong College Prep, Carver and West Goshen on their achievements, which have no doubt led to strong teachers—and most importantly—confident students."

"As a former teacher and principal, it is gratifying to work with hundreds of schools on attracting and retaining great educators to improve the lives of students," said Stark. "This is the most important work in education today, and these TAP Founder's Award finalists are helping to lead the way."

The winning school will be announced during a keynote luncheon tomorrow, March 25, at noon.

The TAP System is America's leading comprehensive educator effectiveness model that aligns teacher leadership, daily job-embedded professional development, educator evaluation and support, and opportunities for performance-based compensation. Introduced in 1999, the TAP System supports schools, districts, universities and states to advance educator effectiveness and student learning.   

The TAP Founder's Award is funded by the Lowell Milken Family Foundation, and the prize is to be used toward efforts to improve instruction and academic achievement.

Each finalist implements the TAP System by establishing leadership teams, made up of master and mentor teachers as well as administrators, who drive instruction. These teacher leaders guide weekly professional development and provide individual coaching in classrooms.

TAP's teacher leadership opportunities and professional development are complemented by systems of educator evaluation, feedback and support, as well as a compensation system that rewards educators for increased skill and student performance, and for taking on new leadership roles and responsibilities.

TAP Founder's Award recipients are selected without their knowledge by NIET, which manages and supports the TAP System. The honor is based on distinction in the following areas: proficient implementation of TAP's four core elements, student academic growth according to state or federal measures, and notable recognition as a center and resource of best practices. 

The TAP Founder's Award yields benefits that will strengthen the individual school and support its teachers. This is done by means of prominent public recognition and by opportunities to substantively interact on issues of educator effectiveness and student learning with leaders from government, business and academia.

Photos from the TAP Founder's Award finalists' recognition luncheon are available for download at http://www.niet.org/newsroom/photos.

For interviews with the TAP Founder's Award finalists during the conference or to attend, contact Jana Rausch at jrausch@niet.org or (310) 435-9259. For more information, visit http://www.niet.org and follow conference news on Twitter @NIETteach or via #tapcon17.  


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