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Somerset ISD wins $10,000 for teacher evaluation efforts

San Antonio Express News
March 16, 2015

By Francismo Vara-Orta 

Somerset Independent School District is one of six districts in the nation to win $10,000 for implementing a more rigorous teacher evaluation system.

Somerset has gradually converted its schools to the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP, since the 2010-11 school year, first at its junior high, which was struggling academically.

District leaders claimed the reform was instrumental in improving Somerset’s schools, all of which met state standards last year.

Most area districts use a teacher evaluation system that the state is currently revising and many consider outdated and ineffective. The state is encouraging experiments with other models like TAP, which often draw controversy for using student test scores as part of its measurement of teacher quality.

TAP is managed and supported by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which awarded Somerset and five other districts the TAP Award of Distinction, which comes with a $10,000 prize. Superintendent Saul Hinojosa and several of his staff accepted it at a ceremony in Los Angeles.