TAP program improves teacher, student advancement

The Teacher Advancement Program, TAP, focuses on teacher improvement in order to help students succeed in their classes. TAP has been implemented in other schools within Bryan ISD for years, and this past fall, the program was introduced at Bryan High.

“We started this year with the 9th grade,” TAP master teacher Megan Jones said. “In January we brought in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, as well as languages other than English. In August of 2012, it will be the entire campus, and that will make us the largest campus involved in the nation.”

The program divides educators into three categories: career, mentor, and master teachers. Career teachers spend all their time in the classroom, while mentor teachers split their time between teaching and observing classrooms. Master teachers spend the majority of their time observing teachers and helping them improve their methods.

“The majority of my job is spent doing cluster,” Jones said. “Whether planning it or preparing it, and it’s kind of like a class that teachers come to. I do lots of walk throughs because I like to see what kids are doing in their classes, and I also do observations where I’ll stay for a full class period and get to see all the neat stuff that teachers and students are doing.

Master teacher Michelle Williamson said that TAP encourages teachers to improve and focus on instruction in the classroom, which in turn, influences students’ work ethic.

“It’s about taking each teacher on the this campus and improving and pushing that envelope so they continue to become better teachers,” Williamson said. “We know that when a teacher focuses on their own practice and become experts in their field and fine tuning that impacts students.”

Jones said that TAP helps teachers improve their cooperation.

“I think TAP has improved teacher relationships, because we’re a big campus and we’re able to see each other much more than we usually do,” Jones said. “There’s a new level of support, and a new urgency for teachers to improve their practice. It was always good, and it’s just getting better, so our students will benefit.”

TAP evaluates teacher performance on an individual level in the classroom, and on a school-wide level based student performance. History teacher Dan Williams sees the benefit of TAP, and how it has changed teachers’ methods.

“Teachers are being forced to think about each lesson, the effort they’re putting into it, and what they are teaching,” Williams said. “When we live in a society where we continue to support each other, we are completely different. This is one step in that direction, one where we support each other and help each other to continue to push to our maximum and impact students.”

Mentor teacher Morgan Messick has seen the improvement TAP has made at the school.

“I would say that TAP has helped the teachers become even better than they were before. They’ve been able to learn and use new teaching strategies and theories,” Messick said. “Even though most of our teachers are doing an awesome job, TAP is there to continue to support us and to congratulate how awesome they are.”

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