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Caddo announces $4.5 million TAP grant

Caddo Parish Public Schools has been awarded a $4.5 million School Improvement Grant (SIG) to take school turnaround efforts at struggling schools to the next level.

The seven campuses selected through the grant will use the funds to fully implement the nationally recognized Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). Operated by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, the TAP model seeks to provide the highest quality classroom instruction through intensive and structured supports for teachers at each campus. Schools receiving the grant are: Atkins Elementary, Caddo Heights Elementary, Caddo Middle Career and Technology, Lakeshore Middle, Queensborough Elementary, Sunset Acres Elementary and Werner Park Elementary. The schools selected are currently in the district’s Transformation Zone, an initiative to turnaround the district’s historically underperforming schools.

“In our third year of the Transformation Zone, we have proven we will do whatever it takes to provide our students every resource and opportunity to prepare them for the future of their dreams,” said Dr. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “Today, I am thrilled to announce a grant opportunity which allows us to not only focus on our students and their education but how we support our teachers in being the best educators they can be. We know TAP provides the ability to teachers to better understand their profession, but also how to make the most of their time in the classroom.”

TAP leverages strategies proven through national research to improve student academic outcomes. To accomplish this vision, TAP approaches the teaching profession as an art form and uses research to support and improve effective teaching through multiple career paths, professional development, strong evaluations and performance-based compensation plans. Each campus will employ master teachers who work directly with educators through lesson planning and training opportunities to provide targeted approaches to meet individual student needs. Master teachers will also have the ability to work with an executive master teacher to better design strategies that translate into student success.

School Improvement Grants (SIG) are awarded to states through the U.S. Department of Education. States are required to use the funds to benefit schools and districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources.

For Billy Snow, District Transformation and Innovation Officer, TAP presents an opportunity to enhance the instructional supports in Transformation Zone classrooms and build academic success across the seven schools awarded.

“I truly consider the implementation of TAP to be the next phase of transformation,” Snow said. “We have made significant progress in climate and culture, discipline, graduation rates, and are seeing gains. It is our intention to take teacher recruitment, development, and student achievement to the next level.”