West Hartsville Elementary School earns TAP award

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMBF) – West Hartsville Elementary School recently received a special honor recognizing their work within the TAP program.

The Darlington County school was awarded the new TAP Ambassador Award which comes with an award of $5,000. The Ambassador Award was created this year to honor a TAP school that has gone beyond its campus to represent the principles of the TAP system and assist others in the state and region.

The award was presented during a special Saturday luncheon at the 10 annual National TAP Conference, Leading Innovation through Teacher Effectiveness. Nearly 1,000 educators and policy leaders were in attendance.

TAP, which stands for Teacher Advancement Program, is a comprehensive school reform which provides educators with opportunities of multiple career paths, ongoing applied professional growth, instructionally focused accountability and performance-based compensation.

"Attitude and achievement make West Hartsville Elementary deserving of the TAP Ambassador Award," said Gary Stark, president of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET)—the organization that runs TAP and funds the TAP Ambassador Award.  "For six years, West Hartsville has been a model TAP site under the inspired leadership of Principal Kay Howell and the entire West Hartsville faculty."

West Hartsville opens its doors to policymakers at the district, state and federal levels, who then depart with a better understanding and appreciation of TAP in action.  The school is also a learning lab for practitioners, with constant visits from other TAP teachers and principals as well as other educators interested in investigating the use of TAP for their schools.

Videos of West Hartsville "cluster group" professional development meetings have been studied by the state-level South Carolina TAP team and distributed nationally by NIET to TAP schools across the country.  Recently, West Hartsville submitted over 30 strategies to the national TAP database, complete with lesson plans, critical attributes and long-range cluster plans.

In addition to West Hartsville Elementary School, other recipients of the TAP Ambassador Award are Cherokee Park Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana (Caddo Parish School District); Holston Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee (Knox County Schools); and Wilburn Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina (Wake County Public School System).

Launched in 1999, TAP now impacts more than 7,500 teachers and 85,000 students across America.  For more information on TAP or the 10th National TAP Conference at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, visit www.tapsystem.org.

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