Lincoln received $10,000, which will further support the professional development of the school’s staff. The TAP system is described as “America’s leading comprehensive educator effectiveness model that connects teacher leadership with daily job-embedded professional development, educator evaluation and support, and opportunities for performance-based compensation.” With NIET, teachers have weekly professional development training that provides student strategies to meet the specific needs of that school.
Lincoln, led by Principal Whitney Wilkowski and Assistant Principal John Sponsel, received the honor at the NIET conference in Washington, D.C., last month. They were accompanied by Superintendent Patrick Mapes, Assistant Superintendent Vickie Carpenter, Assistant Superintendent Robert Bohannon and the administrator for professional development and English learners, who led a 90-minute presentation on the district’s focus on growing teachers to grow students. A group of 14 other administrators and teachers were also in attendance to participate in breakout sessions, workshops and training programs.
This is the third time Perry Township has been recognized for excelling in NIET techniques. In 2015 Perry Township Schools received the TAP Award of Distinction from NIET Chairman TAP Founder Lowell Milken and NIET President Gary Stark.
Southport Elementary won the award in 2016 and received a $50,000 prize for staff development. The TAP System allows teaching staff to merge their core teaching knowledge with understanding critical factors such as poverty and mobility. Understanding those factors is necessary for designing and planning instruction that respects students’ differences and encourages their growth.
Through the TAP System, Lincoln’s staff has excelled in addressing educational challenges, including a large student body, a language learning curve, a 20 to 30 percent student mobility rate and Title I status – a designation that supports students from low-income families. NIET’s targeted, weekly professional learning and constant attention to data guide staff to form a coherent vision of student success.
Student success at Lincoln has uniquely become a community affair. Families participate in math family night to understand what and how their children are learning. Students, themselves, drive these conversations. Teachers host visits for other Indiana schools that want to come and observe success at Lincoln. In addition, faculty members have met with state legislators and even engaged in greater state policy discussions.
Perry Township Schools is a proud partner of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching program. The implementation of NIET’s model at Lincoln and Southport has inspired us to implement NIET best practices districtwide.