What’s TAP?

In about ten days I will assume, in earnest, my new role as Master Teacher in Lucia Mar’s implementation of the newly adopted Teacher Advancement Program. It’s a heavy responsibility and I’ve been thinking about it in those waking hours of the night when my mind is not quite asleep, but not quite awake either. I’ve worked hard over the past weeks getting ready and am now to the point where it’s time to put theory and understanding aside and actually do it.

So, what is TAP?

TAP stands for Teacher Advancement Program. It’s been developed to reform education. Being an unabashed booster for public education, it’s hard to sit by as people and organizations knock it. However, I also understand that like many large bureaucracies, education’s wheels turn slowly and there are many differing and competing interests working to turn those wheels in the direction they would like to see it go, and often these are political. In the case of TAP, the parent organization, N.I.E.T. has developed a program to meet several of those interests, and all for the purpose of making our schools serve the public more effectively.

TAP in the school has at its core four basic areas- A)  Performance Based Compensation, B)  Multiple Career Paths for Teachers, C)  Ongoing Professional Growth, and D)  Instructionally Focused Accountability.  What these mean is the following:

A)  Paying Teachers bonuses for how well their students perform.

B)  Providing different avenues in education for teachers to use their skills- Classroom Teacher, Mentor Teacher and Master Teacher, and each with a different role to perform.

C)  Giving teachers support and opportunities to learn about and hone their craft to better teach students.

D)  Providing a feedback loop that is based on a clear set of teacher performance standards and focusing on how well a teacher is meeting his or her objectives.

Educational reform is a huge undertaking and TAP is no different in this regard. So what exactly is TAP? It’s all about teacher excellence and student achievement, something that most teachers truly believe in. For now, TAP is my world, especially in the wee hours of the morning… .. .

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