The TAP program could get a big boost now that the new school board majority is set to take over on Tuesday.
As noted in today's article, the new majority thinks TAP can help provide incentives for teachers to work at high-poverty schools, which would increase in some areas under neighborhood schools.
It's a shift from how TAP was viewed by the old board as a supplement to the diversity policy. Outgoing board members such as Patti Head had thought of using TAP in schools where the F&R percentages were high despite efforts to balance enrollment.
But the new board members and current board member Ron Margiotta are taking a more expansive view of TAP, now being piloted at Wilburn Elementary School.
Under TAP, teachers are encouraged to stay in the classroom through extra pay by applying to become master and mentor teachers. Wilburn Principal Jennifer Carnes says teachers have to earn these positions by applying annually and achieving a high score on their annual evaluations.
Under the merit pay provision, teachers can earn as much as $2,000 a year in bonuses based on their evaluations and how the school fares on the SAS EVAAS program.
Unlike the state's ABCs program, at least when it's funded, it's not a case of every teacher getting a bonus at a school.
Bonus amounts vary at TAP schools. Carnes said every teacher got a bonus last year but that's not a guarantee.
Then there's the professional development time, called learning clusters. Teachers meet in weekly 90-minute sessions. This year, Wilburn is focusing on reading strategies.
These learning clusters are held during the school day. New board member John Tedesco said this is one possible way to keep time for professional learning teams without dismissing students early each Wednesday.
Carnes said the program can be used at any Wake school.
The program's benefits are why outgoing school board member Eleanor Goettee is pitching it o the new board members even though it could be used to help replace the diversity policy. Goettee met with the new board members to discuss why she thinks TAP is so valuable.
Goettee said that she'd ideally like to both keep the diversity policy and expand TAP. But in the end she wants to make sure that TAP is expanded.
Goettee complained that the administration and former school board chairwoman Rosa Gill held up TAP's expansion in Wake. She said Wake should have already been applying for federal grants without making a school like Wilburn fund it out of its own Title I budget.
"There are federal grants out there to administer the program which we haven't applied for," Goettee said. "I feel that's negligent."
Administrators had questioned what would happen when the grant money ran out. Gill, who like Goettee is a former Wake teacher, had questioned the fairness of using merit pay.