Beaufort Elementary School was one of four schools nationwide that won an award last weekend for its part in a program that aims to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
The TAP Ambassador Award, which carries a $5,000 prize, was accepted by principal Gary McCulloch on Saturday at the 14th national System for Teacher and Student Advancement conference in Los Angeles. The awards honor schools that represent the principles of the TAP system and assist others in the state, region and nation.
TAP, which is managed by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, offers teachers opportunities for career advancement, professional development and performance-based compensation, according to a news release.
"I thank Gary McCulloch and the entire Beaufort Elementary School faculty for allowing TAP schools to see them in action," Gary Stark, the institute's president and chief executive officer, said in the release. "Their collaborative spirit and diligence to achieve exemplary growth every year serve as a model for schools in South Carolina and across the country."
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The release said that since adopting TAP in the 2010-11 school year, Beaufort Elementary, which serves more than 600 students, has created weekly professional development for teachers, mentored others in the TAP program and in master teacher positions, adopted TAP's teacher support and evaluation, and instituted a compensation system to reward educators for improving student performance.
The school's test scores show high percentages of student proficiency, the release said. In English/language arts, 83 percent met standards or were rated "exemplary"; in math, 74 percent; in science, 72 percent; in social studies, 81 percent; and in writing, 75 percent. In 2013, the state rated the school's growth as "excellent."
The other three schools to be awarded Saturday were Cross County Elementary School in Cross County, Ark.; Gadsden Elementary School in Gadsden, Ariz.; and Port Allen Middle School in Baton Rouge, La.
Beaufort Elementary is the second school in Beaufort County to receive a TAP Ambassador Award in the past two years. Battery Creek High was one of six recipients in 2013.
Whale Branch Middle School earned the 2012 TAP Founder's Award, which included a $50,000 cash prize.