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Principals in TAP Schools
Shared Leadership in a TAP School
Outstanding teachers are the single most important school-related factor for student success, and outstanding leadership is an essential supporting factor for teacher success. The principal is the leader of a school and ultimately guides the TAP effort. Therefore, in order to promote successful TAP implementation, supporting and enhancing exemplary principal leadership is crucial.
The task of creating and maintaining a successful school is a great undertaking, and TAP provides principals with the structure in this task. TAP utilizes a shared instructional leadership model called the TAP Leadership Team which is comprised of the principal, assistant principals, master and mentor teachers. This team works together to develop and lead cluster group meetings (i.e., professional learning communities), formulate school goals based on student data and implement a school plan to reach those goals. Specific responsibilities of the leadership team include activities such as providing structured, job-embedded professional development; conducting teacher observations and evaluations; giving teachers feedback through pre- and post-conferences; helping teachers analyze student data; and individual coaching.
This collaborative structure makes it easier for principals to provide outstanding instructional leadership by distributing their instructional responsibilities across a team of exemplary teacher and administrative leaders. Further, this shared leadership creates a new, dynamic learning community among the faculty where educators help and teach each other.
TAP Leadership Standards
The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) has developed a set of leadership standards that define what successful school leadership in a TAP school should look like. Principals are evaluated based on these standards as a part of the TAP School Review process, which is an annual evaluation to determine the quality of system implementation. TAP principals should have expertise in four areas:
- Developing a school's academic improvement plan
- Communicating student progress
- Instructional leadership: knowledge of quality instructional practices
- Instructional leadership: knowledge of curriculum
TAP includes principals and other building administrators (i.e., assistant and/or vice principals) in the overall performance compensation system as used for TAP teachers, though TAP promotes the use of additional measures that are determined necessary and appropriate for the performance accountability of school leadership. In most cases, the structure of performance pay for building administrators is determined at the local level.
The majority of current TAP schools are using a performance compensation system for principals. The most commonly used measures to determine performance bonuses are school-wide student achievement gains (as measured by value-added analysis) and TAP implementation (as measured by TAP School Review scores).
Additionally, NIET is presently developing a more formalized administrator compensation system through a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant with the Consortium of Algiers Charter Schools in New Orleans, Louisiana. In general, this system will include: 1) administrator-specific training and development focused on TAP implementation as well as general school leadership, 2) a performance evaluation instrument and 3) a new comprehensive compensation system based on multiple measures, including student achievement gains.
Michael Savage, Principal, Audelia Creek Elementary School, Dallas, Texas
"The TAP Instructional Rubric has more detail than the district Professional Development and Appraisal System. You can hit the spots where the teachers need help because you've got multiple independent observations."