Washington Second in New National Board Certified Teachers
OLYMPIA — January 20, 2009 — For Jamie Yoos, completing National Board certification was about more than adding another title to his name.
“The significance resides in the deep, reflective process that is the foundation of the work,” said Yoos, a Bellingham chemistry teacher.
The 2010 Washington state Teacher of the Year, Yoos was one of the 1,248 Washington teachers who this year became National Board Certified teachers. That number placed Washington state second nationally in new National Board certified teachers, behind North Carolina. Washington’s 3,974 total NBCTs place the state fifth in the nation, up from eighth in 2008.
In addition, three districts in the state ranked in the top 20 nationally in new NBCTs. Bellevue ranked 10th (64 new NBCTs), while Spokane was 12th (63) and Seattle 15th (57).
“The increased number of board certified teachers isn’t an accident,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction. “Quality teachers give quality instruction to students. That message is at the heart of board certification. It’s a message everyone in the state understands. We wouldn’t keep increasing our numbers if everyone – principals and parents and community leaders – didn’t.
“Also, the Legislature did a great thing by giving a bonus to teachers in poor schools. Often students in those schools don’t get the best teachers, and that bonus will help many teachers stay in their schools, and it will help others get their Board certification.”
In 2007, the state Legislature passed a bill that awards a $5,000 bonus to each NBCT. Teachers can receive an additional $5,000 bonus if they teach in “challenging” schools, which are defined as having a certain percentage of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (50 percent for high schools, 60 percent for middle schools and 70 percent for elementary schools).
In addition, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction offers a conditional loan of $2,000 of the $2,500 registration fee to go through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification process.
About 23 percent of new Washington NBCTs teach in challenging schools, compared to 22 percent for all NBCTs through 2008, and about 50 percent teach in a Title-I school, a federal designation for schools serving high percentages of poor students.
According to Jeanne Harmon, executive director for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, “National Board candidates must demonstrate their ability to improve student learning. They essentially submit a year's worth of evidence about their classroom practice -- how skillful choices in instruction and assessment result in student growth.”
A joint effort led by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the Washington Education Association and OSPI, as well as broad bipartisan support in the state Legislature, has led to a rapid increase in NBCTs.
“National Board Certification is one solution to the challenges facing our schools,” Gov. Gregoire said. “Our state is committed to growing the number of National Board Certified teachers in schools where they are needed the most. We know that leveraging human capital is a key factor in improving teacher effectiveness, student learning and school culture.”
Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association, said that students stand to benefit the most from the increase in NBCTs. “Simply put, National Board Certification improves the quality of teaching and student learning,” she said. “The WEA is proud of the many educators who have undertaken this powerful, professional experience.”
National Board Certification requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning. The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers.
Created in 1987, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the quality of teaching and learning.