GOSHEN — When it comes to resources for training teachers, Goshen Community Schools just got a nearly $10 million boost.
During a special gathering in Indianapolis Tuesday morning, Goshen Community Schools officials learned the district is one of three Indiana school systems that will share a five-year, $47 million federal grant from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching aimed at supporting educators’ career opportunities, professional learning and strategic compensation.
According to NIET CEO Candice McQueen, the $47 million grant was awarded to NIET by the federal Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program with the goal of expanding and sustaining work to support teachers and improve students’ academic success in three Indiana school districts: Goshen Community Schools, Perry Township Schools south of Indianapolis and Brown County Schools.
“Our partnerships across Indiana and nationally show that when teachers and principals lead schools with a focus on excellence, reflection, and collaboration, students excel,” McQueen said in a provided statement. “This grant is a win for educators and students and will create a lasting impact in these school communities. We look forward to deepening the work in Perry, Goshen, and Brown and building on their progress to strengthen teaching and learning in every classroom every day.”
Specifically, the grant will support the implementation of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement across the districts’ combined 32 K-12 schools, serving more than 25,000 students, 1,500 teachers, and 80 school leaders, McQueen explained.
According to the NIET, TAP helps build educators’ effectiveness and enables school staffs to develop teachers as instructional leaders, plan weekly professional learning tailored to individual needs of teachers and students, create a shared vision for improving teacher practice and student achievement, and implement strategic compensation systems.
In addition, TAP has also shown success in schools in Indiana and across the country with closing achievement gaps, increasing student achievement, improving teacher retention, and strengthening teachers’ abilities, she explained.
$9.4 MILLION COMING
According to GCS Superintendent Diane Woodworth, the Goshen school corporation will receive approximately $9.4 million of the overall $47 million grant that will then be used to directly support local teachers through the district’s existing TAP System.
“Goshen leaders are excited about this grant to further the excellent teaching in every classroom in order for all Goshen students to be able to achieve their dreams,” Woodworth said of the grant. “We believe that our involvement in the TAP system is one of the main reasons that we have been able to grow our student achievement and thus move from a D, the first year of Indiana A-F grades, to maintaining a B as a district.”
Woodworth noted that NIET has collaborated with GCS since 2010 to help strengthen instructional practices, attract and retain effective teachers in high-need schools, and close achievement gaps.
As currently planned, GCS will use the funds to deepen and sustain the TAP system in its nine traditional schools serving 6,600 students, Woodworth explained, noting that GCS leaders first sought a partnership with NIET to meet the needs of the district’s student population and strengthen the local economy.
Woodworth noted that GCS has established teacher leader roles in each of its schools, adding that this grant funding will help to expand and increase those opportunities so classroom teachers have the opportunity to grow in their career.
“Indiana’s teachers are the rock upon which we build our schools, and I’m grateful that NIET has chosen to invest in our Hoosier educators,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb added of the grant in a provided statement. “I’ve set a goal for the state to attract and retain teachers, and this grant will help these local districts take their classrooms to the next level.”
NOT THE FIRST TIME
Tuesday was not the first time Goshen schools have received a grant from NIET. In March 2018 the organization awarded West Goshen Elementary school $50,000 after the school won that year’s TAP Founder’s Award for the school staff’s exceptional efforts to implement and represent the principles of the TAP System.
In 2017 the West Goshen staff was a finalist for the award, which resulted in a $10,000 grant from NIET.