DeSoto Parish Schools, Louisiana, earned the 2019-2020 District Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET). The $50,000 award, presented by NIET Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken and CEO Dr. Candice McQueen in fall 2019, honors the district's use of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement. DeSoto puts teachers at the forefront of school improvement and equips them to coach and support their peers through evidence-based tools and strategies − all with a focus on continuous improvement and professional learning.
"Our partnership with NIET engages teachers in a highly collaborative, professional, yet competitive environment that promotes educator effectiveness," says DeSoto Parish Schools Superintendent Clay Corley in the video, filmed in early 2020. "Everything we do revolves around outcomes for students and opportunities to improve for teachers."
Among DeSoto's accomplishments since implementing TAP in 2008-09 are the remarkable growth in student performance from #45 in the state to #12, and graduation rate increase from 67.8% to 93.4%.
In addition to the quantitative measures, North DeSoto Upper Elementary School Master Teacher Lyndsey Rhoads emphasizes qualitative markers of success that "don't show up on a badge or label or in a banner out front. There is a different level of ownership for our kids, and they are excited about learning."
For more about DeSoto Parish Schools, view the press release on the DeSoto Parish Schools award announcement.