To the Editor:
Your In Perspective article on the Teacher Advancement Program, “TAP: More Than Performance Pay” (April 1, 2009), was spot on. In New Orleans, the Algiers Charter Schools Association, which you cited in the piece, believed so much in TAP that we included it in our charter when we organized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and took charge of what are now nine urban schools.
After just the first year of TAP implementation, our students scored more than 22 percentage points higher than their neighboring peers in math and reading. And with three years of data now behind six of our schools, five have recorded the highest value-added score possible, signifying “far above average” results, while the sixth has achieved its expected full year’s growth.
But TAP delivers so much more to us. The 12 teacher skills we track have improved across the board, with notable gains made in motivating students, presenting instructional content, giving academic feedback, problem-solving, and thinking. As for teacher turnover, it is now under 6 percent, a significant reduction compared with our 2006-07 school year, when it was well above the national average at 22 percent.
The Teacher Advancement Program has truly united our school community behind a proven teaching model, created a clear path for us to improve student achievement, and crystallized our focus on developing human capital.
Chief Academic Officer
Algiers Charter Schools Association
New Orleans, La.
A version of this article appeared in the April 22, 2009 edition of Education Week as Kudos to TAP Program From New Orleans School