National Training Institute Aims at Student Achievement Through Teacher Quality
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions has teamed up with the fastest-growing teacher-quality program in the nation to offer the first annual Teacher Advancement Program Summer Institute. Held during the week of July 25 on the fourth floor of the UA Continuing Education Center in downtown Fayetteville, the institute involves 175 teachers and principals from more than 80 TAP schools in nine states, including Arkansas.
"We are pleased to partner with the TAP Foundation in hosting this important institute. Arkansas schools were among the first to implement TAP, and the increases in student achievement are very encouraging," said Reed Greenwood, dean of the college.
"Teachers are expected to steadily increase their students' achievement but are often not given the training and support they need," said Lewis C. Solmon, president of the TAP Foundation. "TAP provides a framework for teachers to improve their instruction in the classroom. The TAP Summer Institute focuses on developing these skills among TAP teacher leaders."
Gary Stark, vice president of the TAP Foundation, said, "TAP transforms schools, and teachers are excited to be part of a program that helps them become more effective teachers. TAP has been cited by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings as having significant impact on student achievement and in closing the achievement gap."
He explained that the program has four key elements: school-based professional development, career paths for teachers to become master or mentor teachers, a comprehensive teacher evaluation system with clear standards conducted multiple times during the year, and performance-based compensation. In Arkansas, the UA College of Education and Health Professions partners with the Teacher Advancement Program Foundation to support Arkansas TAP, and the state director, Frances Jones, is a visiting assistant professor in the college. The University of Arkansas offers graduate credit for participants in the summer institute.
Ten teachers from Arkansas schools are attending the institute. Arkansas TAP schools include the middle school and high school in Lincoln, Jones Elementary in Rogers, Rockefeller and Stephens Elementary in Little Rock, and eight schools in the Van Buren School District.
Becky Guthrie, principal of Lincoln High School, said, "Lincoln High School is entering its third year with the TAP program. TAP has provided Lincoln with the tools, knowledge and support to dramatically improve student achievement."
Developed in 1999 by the Milken Family Foundation, TAP is a comprehensive, whole-school reform program that increases student achievement by attracting, motivating, developing and retaining highly qualified teachers. The TAP Foundation was launched in 2005.
TAP is currently being implemented in 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, Ohio and Texas, and the District of Columbia. Schools in Wyoming and Nevada are scheduled to start this fall. More than 100 campuses are involved, impacting more than 50,000 students and 3,500 teachers.