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Jerry Haslam

The acronym TAAP may not mean much to the average high school student in Utah. But for some kids in Taylorsville, it's easily recalled.

"If you mention the word 'TAAP,' they know exactly what it is," said principal Jerry D. Haslam of Taylorsville High School.

Short for the Taylorsville All Achieve Program, the five-year-old program has helped the Salt Lake-area school move from 33rd to 10th in terms of academic standing in the state of Utah, according to the Utah State of Education.

To improve grades at the school, Haslam and his staff created the TAAP program, which allows students to take after-school tutoring from teachers.

In short, the program is set up so students who receive a failing grade at midterm must be required to meet with their teacher who gave the grade an hour after school every day until their grades improve.

Thanks to the program, over the last five years, students are not only improving in test scores, but more importantly, they're learning more than they were before, Haslam said.

Haslam also credits his staff and teachers for taking the motto of 'failure is not an option' to heart.

Although teachers are paid extra to stay past normal school hours to tutor students, it's their drive, not Haslam's, that has brought the change and academic success, he said.

"Our teachers have bent over backwards — that's what made these improvements," Haslam said. "All I did was put the teachers in a position to be successful, and they were."

— Daniel Ng