TAP (Teacher Advancement Program)
One of the most successful initiatives of The Great Schools Partnership has been the Milken Foundation’s Teacher Advancement Program or TAP. In 2006, TAP was implemented in two Knox County elementary schools (Lonsdale and Pond Gap) and two middle schools (Holston and Northwest). Designed to help teachers improve their craft, the key components are collaborative planning, targeted professional development by subject area and grade level, teacher mentoring and coaching. TAP has proven successful in fostering a climate that emphasizes constant improvement. This initiative transitioned to The Knox County Schools in 2015.
OUTCOMES: In 2014, Carter High School received the TAP Founder’s Award, the highest annual award given by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) for a TAP school. The award came with a $50,000 cash award. All three TAP high schools – Austin-East, Carter, and South Doyle – received the highest possible Value-Added Scores for the second year in a row.
Click to learn more about TAP.
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)
AVID is a middle school and high school intervention program designed to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. The initiative targets students in the academic middle – students with a 2.0 to 3.5 Grade Point Average – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. AVID is a regularly scheduled elective class which meets during the school day and empowers students to achieve academic excellence. This initiative transitioned to The Knox County Schools in 2015.
OUTCOMES: During the 2014-15 school year, it was reported that Knoxville’s AVID students completed college-prep courses at a rate of more than 95 percent while maintaining a 3.1 Grade Point Average. At Austin-East High School, 89 percent of AVID seniors graduated on time. Seventy-eight percent of those graduates enrolled in college, compared to 65 percent of the Knox County Schools district as a whole.
Click to learn more about AVID.
Teacher Induction & Mentoring Program
This initiative strives to aid new teachers in being successful during their first few years of teaching. New teachers are provided with an orientation, mentors, and workshops on becoming an effective teacher. This initiative transitioned to The Knox County Schools in 2015.
OUTCOMES: A University of Tennessee study revealed that this program decreased the attrition rate of teachers by more than 40 percent during their first five years. Knoxville has done well to hang on to 60 percent of its teachers during their first five years of service due in no small measure to this initiative. But a disturbing downward trend in the last two years has caused us to repurpose and re-staff this initiative with a possibility of extending its supports to years three and four for new teachers.
Click to learn more about Knox County Schools’ Teacher Mentor Program.
First Grade Literacy Intervention (Reading Intervention)
To further support the literacy efforts already funded by Great Schools Partnership, a first grade reading intervention initiative was created in 2011. Reading Intervention is a multi-faceted approach utilizing literacy coaches, continued professional development for elementary school staff, common reading time, small group and individual interventions, along with parent engagement. Providing up to an additional hour of reading per day, it’s an “all hands on deck” approach to reading proficiency. This initiative transitioned to The Knox County Schools in 2015.
OUTCOMES: In 2015 it was reported that the district saw an average gain of 37 percent for first-graders reading on or beyond grade level, as well as a gain of 13 percent in spelling. One hundred percent of students improved their oral language with an average growth of 1.21 points.