Pikes Peak Prep, a Colorado Charter School Institute-sponsored K-12 school, is the only charter school in Colorado Springs to adopt the TAP model to improve academic performance. TAP, The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, is sponsored by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching and is credited for improving student achievement across the nation.

To lead the program, Pikes Peak Prep, at 525 E. Costilla St., recently hired two TAP master teachers. Stephanie Atencio was named TAP master teacher and principal, and Kyle Gilliam is a master teacher and the assistant principal. The pair began their jobs Jan. 6. Both had previously worked for Colorado Spring School District 11.

TAP training involves nine days of learning and passing a certification exam. The model requires staff to gather each week to review data and student performance. Teachers receive support from the master teachers and other mentors in developing strategies to improve learning. Merit-based pay is part of the TAP model, and staff are rewarded not only for their own performance but also the school’s overall performance.