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Duplessis Primary receives $50,000 NIET Founder's Award

Staff Reports
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) announced today that Duplessis Primary School in Ascension Parish is the recipient of the 2020 NIET Founder’s Award and its $50,000 grand prize.

Duplessis earned this award because of its work to improve student performance through using the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, which is a comprehensive approach to strengthen instruction and advance student learning. Since implementing TAP, students have excelled – in some cases posting double-digit gains – and the school has been recognized by the state of Louisiana for its improvement. The NIET Founder's Award will be used to support Duplessis' teachers and leaders in their development as effective educators.

For 20 years, NIET has worked with more than 8,500 schools, districts, states, and universities to establish structures of leadership, development, and support to ensure that all students have effective teachers. NIET's partner schools have achieved sustained progress by outperforming similar schools and having greater teacher retention. The Founder's Award was created by NIET Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken to acknowledge one school annually for exceptional implementation of NIET's principles to make excellent teaching the cornerstone of student learning.

NIET Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken and CEO Dr. Candice McQueen surprised the Duplessis school community with the honor during an online recognition ceremony.

"Duplessis Primary School has built an infrastructure of support for teachers that has produced powerful results for students," NIET Chairman and Founder Lowell Milken said. "Strong and stable leadership, a capable and dedicated staff, and a sharp focus on achievement growth for all have made continuous improvement a daily reality. I congratulate Principal Jennifer Board and her team, as well as Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander for their leadership and guidance to place instructional excellence at the core of student success."

"Duplessis Primary's teamwork and focus on every child create a setting where students and teachers can thrive," said NIET CEO Dr. Candice McQueen. "That is exactly what we all want to see in every classroom across the country."  

About Duplessis Primary

NIET's foundational support and the school's unifying motto of "The Patriot Way" have helped Duplessis students – of whom half are minority and 61% are economically disadvantaged – meet and exceed benchmarks.