Indianapolis, Ind. (March 24, 2023) - Goshen Community Schools' focus on educator excellence and student success was celebrated today when it received a surprise $50,000 award from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET). NIET Founder and Chairman Lowell Milken and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joshua Barnett surprised Goshen Superintendent Dr. Steve Hope with the District Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness during NIET’s national conference in Indianapolis.
Bestowed for only the fifth time ever, the award honors school districts that focus on supporting excellent instruction and improving student performance. Goshen was chosen because of its decade-long commitment to investing in educators’ professional growth, fostering teacher leadership and increasing student success.
"Goshen Community Schools demonstrates a long-standing commitment to building the capacity of educators, driving student learning growth for all," said NIET Founder Lowell Milken. "We commend Dr. Steve Hope and his leadership team, including many who have advanced through Goshen’s teacher and principal ranks themselves to impact the district at large. Together, they are creating a pipeline of educators who stand ready to prepare generations of students for bright futures."
In Goshen, student demographics have changed dramatically over the past decade, with a majority of students classifying as economically disadvantaged and a rapidly growing population of English Language Learners. Goshen’s success demonstrates the power of high-quality teaching practices and how a commitment to excellent teaching focused on high expectations every day can overcome barriers.
"Goshen Community Schools has shown what can happen through a sustained focus on great classroom teaching," said NIET CEO Dr. Joshua Barnett, "A model district leadership team sets the stage to support all school leaders and teachers, which helps increase the retention of effective educators and produce academic improvement. We are excited to honor them today and believe every district in the nation should take note of their commitment to collaboration and teamwork."
What Makes Goshen Community Schools Unique?
In 2010, Goshen started a partnership with NIET to implement the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, which is a whole-school approach to improving teaching and providing opportunities for teachers to grow as leaders. The TAP System is grounded in research, recognizing that teacher quality is the single biggest in-school factor for student success. This approach puts teacher leaders – called master and mentor teachers – at the forefront of school improvement and equips them to coach and support their peers through evidence-based tools and strategies, with a focus on continuous improvement and professional learning.
The growth and leadership opportunities that the mentor and master teacher roles provide within the walls of a teacher’s own school building are attractive to teachers and can lead to greater retention. Teacher leader positions provide teachers who want to remain in the classroom with an avenue for developing leadership, while also helping build a pipeline of effective school leaders, ensuring that every student has access to high-quality instruction every day. The quality of the instruction provided is evident in Goshen’s graduation rate which increased by five percentage points between 2021 and 2022 and is now over 90%.
"Goshen Community Schools has been in a relationship with NIET for a long time, and that relationship has grown and become stronger and stronger,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Hope. "We come in with the goal of doing the very best we can for every single student every day because we have a moral, ethical obligation to do that, and we know that can change the trajectory of our students' lives."
NIET awarded the first District Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness to Perry Township in Indianapolis in 2018. The award is a surprise, with NIET identifying the recipient based on its continued and districtwide success in demonstrating effectiveness in teaching and strengthened outcomes in student learning.
For more than two decades, NIET has partnered with schools, districts, states, and universities to build educator excellence and give all students the opportunity for success. NIET's initiatives, including teacher and leader development, school improvement, rubric and observation systems, and educator preparation, have impacted more than 300,000 educators and 3 million students across the U.S. Learn more at niet.org. Follow conference news – including the District Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness – on Facebook and Twitter at @NIETteach or via #NIET2023.
“In every endeavor, people make the difference, and just one person has the power to make a profound difference in the lives of so many people.” - Lowell Milken