District receives recognition for commitment to TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement

Leaders of Ascension Parish Schools, were surprised with the TAP Award of Distinction, which honors an organization for its dedication and commitment to TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement. The Award comes with a financial prize of $10,000. It was presented before more than 1,200 educators and policy leaders during a special Saturday luncheon at the 13th National TAP Conference in Washington, D.C. Superintendent Dr. Patrice Pujol accepted the award on the district's behalf.

TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement is America's leading comprehensive education reform offering teachers career advancement, professional development, educator evaluation and performance-based compensation. For more than ten years, TAP has worked to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in high-need urban, rural and suburban schools and districts across the country. It is managed and supported by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.

"I commend Superintendent Pujol for her commitment to TAP as a cornerstone for turning schools around," said Dr. Gary Stark, president and chief executive officer of NIET. "The district has set a clear vision for effective instructional improvement that is leading to notable gains in student learning."

"The TAP system has been a tremendous, positive experience for us," said Pujol. "Not only has it had a huge impact on the eight schools, but we've leveraged that impact of best practices across our entire district.

"I have committed to our community that we will close the achievement gap. It has been phenomenal to start to see that happen in a significant way."

As part of TAP, each school selected master and mentor teachers who, along with the principal and other administrators, form the TAP Leadership Team. This team drives instruction through daily professional development, follow-up, classroom observations, and pre- and post-conferences with every teacher.

Ascension Parish's efforts to create strong teaching and learning conditions were recognized by The Education Trust in the 2012 report, Building and Sustaining Teacher Talent. The report highlights five districts across the U.S. that have transformed schools into places of learning growth where top teachers are eager to teach, and more importantly, stay and thrive.

"I'm proud to be here," said Jennifer DeWitt-Miller, a TAP career teacher at Pecan Grove Primary. For the 2011-12 school year, the school earned the highest value-added score of 5, signifying far above average growth compared to similar schools in the state. "TAP has transformed the way I think about my kids."

Reflecting on her school's value-added 5 score, Gonzales Middle School Principal Lori Charlet added, "TAP is the best answer in growing students and increasing student achievement."

Ascension Parish Schools joins Knox County Schools, Tennessee, as the 2013 TAP Award of Distinction recipients.

The TAP Award of Distinction profile video for Ascension Parish Schools can be viewed at http://www.tapsystem.org/newsroom/newsroom.taf?page=videos and on the TAP system's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/thetapsystem.

Initiatives of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching are improving the educational experience for more than 100,000 teachers and one million students. For more information on TAP or the 13th National TAP Conference in Washington, D.C., visit http://www.tapsystem.org.