At Slaton Junior High School, Katie Negen is a valuable asset to the leadership team, working hand-in-hand with fellow master and mentor teachers and administrators to move the whole school forward. Her role is made possible through the implementation of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, an initiative of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) that provides opportunities for teacher leadership, job-embedded professional learning, educator evaluation and performance-based compensation.
The TAP structure has shown to directly improve teaching methods and student performance at Slaton Junior High, where nearly 80% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Slaton Junior High’s number of Texas Education Agency distinction designations has increased from two (2015) to five (2017) out of a possible seven. Today, the school is ranked in the top 10% in the state for student progress and closing the achievement gap.
Through her guidance as a TAP master teacher, Negen holds weekly professional learning sessions aimed at improving instructional practices in the classroom. Teachers critically analyze student data, field-test strategies with groups of students before transferring the learning to the classroom, and actively monitor students’ growth. Using this combined research, Negen conferences individually with teachers to develop action plans that address student needs. Coaching, follow-through and feedback are performed to assess the progress of their goals and adjust strategies as needed. These actions have helped every student in Negen’s teaching area to gain at least a year’s growth, with single digit gains in reading and double-digit gains in science for 2016. Negen also recognized the need to reform the discipline program, which has aided learning through positive reinforcements.
Negen is the go-to person for staff on campus as well as at the district level where she is a member of the District Ed Council, Curriculum Committee and Level Leadership Team for Instruction. Her expertise was instrumental in a curriculum-writing initiative that aligned academic goals with state standards. Negen has shared her insights and experiences as a teacher leader with the national TAP network and members of the U.S. Department of Education.
Negen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies in 2007 from Texas Tech University, specializing in 4th-8th grade English, Language Arts, and Reading.
"It took me a long time to realize that [as a master teacher] I was able to effect change in so many people. I get to take my ideas..." (read more)