The effort is being sparked by a Teacher Incentive Fund grant from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching. Known as TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Achievement, it is a comprehensive school improvement model that focuses on placing effective educators in every classroom.
As a way to keep the conversation going and get as many people involved as possible you’ll see a lot of #transformstjohn this school year.
“Students will know and be able to articulate their school's vision and the goals of their school. They will also be highly aware of their own progress,” said Jenna Chiasson, supervisor of school improvement for the district. “Parents may see an increase in communication about their child's individual goals and their progress toward them through the year.”
While many reforms focus on a particular area, such as professional development or loan forgiveness as incentives for teachers, TAP provides comprehensive opportunities in four key areas. There are multiple career paths for educators as career, mentor and master teachers; ongoing applied professional growth through weekly cluster meetings, follow-up support in the classroom and coaching; instructionally-focused accountability through multiple classroom observations and evaluations utilizing a research-based instrument and rubric that identified effective teaching practices; performance-based compensation based on multiple measures of performance, including student achievement gains and teachers’ instructional practices.
“We have an unwavering commitment to growing teachers and students,” Chiasson said. “We believe this student-first mentality will help us transform into a district that will accelerate our growth even beyond what we have already done.”
The past year has been one of preparation, spent recruiting and hiring highly skilled teachers. Twenty master teachers will oversee 41 TAP mentor teachers, who in turn will mentor fellow classroom teachers. Jennifer Brock, a Louisiana Teacher of the Year semi-finalist, is a TAP master teacher at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary.
“TAP will allow St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools to apply and evaluate student progress data to individualize student learning needs,” she said. “Also TAP will give individualized strategic support for ALL teachers in the district. The support is tailored from the district to administration to teachers and to the students.”
This summer, all school and district leaders participated in rigorous training to prepare for the actual TAP implementation in the 2017-18 school year.
“I am extremely excited about the TAP initiative in St. John the Baptist Parish,” Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School Principal Jason Beber said. “I am most impressed with the way the process supports teachers and students. Providing better support and opportunities for our teachers to grow in their profession is truly what is best for kids. The mindset that we grow every student and every teacher is a formula for success. We are excited to offer our teachers and students a process that encourages all to grow to their full potential.”
West St. John High School Principal Claude Hill said the multi-level approach will help educators at every level improve.
“I am excited that the process provides a tremendous amount of support and assistance for everyone involved in education,” he said. “Parents and students should also be excited because this system will create a situation that will increase learning outcomes for our children.”