WASHINGTON, D.C. — Children and staff at West Goshen Elementary School began jumping up and down screaming as they watched their principal, Lori Line, accept the 2018 TAP Founder’s Award on behalf of their school Friday.
A live feed had been set up for everyone at the school to watch the founder of the TAP System, Lowell Milken, surprise the West Goshen faculty with the award during the recognition luncheon at the 2018 National TAP Conference in Washington, D.C.
Milken is also chairman of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which presents its highest honor annually to one school for exceptional efforts to implement and represent the principles of the TAP System — resulting in improvements in educator effectiveness and student achievement growth. It comes with a $50,000 cash prize to be used toward school improvement efforts.
“I am pleased to congratulate Principal Line, her faculty and the entire Goshen student body on this well-deserved honor,” Milken said. “Your best practices and leadership are serving as a role model for the region, state and nation.”
Line said the TAP System provided staff a common language and structure around accountability and expectations. The teachers developed a no-excuses policy, drilling down into the data for each student and developing paths for success. “My teachers don’t make excuses; they find strategies,” Line said. “We look at data, we make a plan, we execute the plan.”
Goals are clearly communicated throughout the school. Line articulates them in weekly leadership team meetings with her mentor and master teachers, then joins the teacher leaders in disseminating the information to the rest of the faculty in weekly professional learning groups. Line meets with every classroom to discuss their data, and in fourth and fifth grade, meets with every student to outline expectations for growth on state testing.
Drawing on the TAP System, West Goshen earned its first-ever state-designated A rating in 2016. The school maintained the A in 2017 as well as a value-added growth score of 5 — the highest possible score on a 1 to 5 scale.
Before TAP was implemented at West Goshen, the school was labeled a D on the state A-F scale. There was not only a need to address related educational needs, but also to attract and retain talented educators to fill the capacity gap, NIET officials said.
“Our teachers firmly believe that the TAP structures have made them better teachers,” Line added. “We all believe that TAP has created a culture of growing and learning for us all. West Goshen is now one of the top schools in the state, and it is because of TAP.”
Launched in 1999, the TAP System, has partnered with schools, districts, states and universities to ensure that students have access to teachers who will help them succeed.
West Goshen was selected among five award finalists from across the country. The other finalists were Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Perry Township Schools, Indiana; Cross County Elementary Technology Academy in the Cross County School District, Arkansas; Mansfield High School in DeSoto Parish Schools, Louisiana; and Slaton Junior High School in the Slaton Independent School District, Texas.
TAP Founder’s Award recipients are selected without their knowledge by NIET.
The prize is funded by the Lowell Milken Family Foundation and it is to be used toward efforts to improve instruction and academic achievement.