New National Board Certified Teachers Announced
OLYMPIA — December 7, 2011 — Washington state continues to place near the top of the country in National Board Certified teachers.
Numbers released today by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards show that Washington has the second-most new NBCTs (945), behind only North Carolina, and is fourth overall in the total number of NBCTs (6,242).
“The National Board program is one of our most successful,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction. “Each year Washington scores very well nationally in the number of new Board-certified teachers. Administrators, legislators and parents all understand just how important certification is. It makes better teachers, which in turn helps all of our students.”
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).
More than 30 percent of new Washington NBCTs teach in challenging schools and 25 percent of all NBCTs are teaching in a challenging school.
Washington state’s investment in the National Board program is critical to its success. The state’s one-of-a-kind conditional loan program allows candidates to delay most of the costs of certification until after they have certified; the loan is then paid back through the teacher’s bonus. This year, more than 50 percent of the candidates chose a conditional loan. To date, the state has been paid back nearly $1 million, which could be used to provide additional loans for future candidates.
A joint effort led by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the Washington Education Association, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, as well as to broad bipartisan support in the state Legislature, has led to a rapid increase in NBCTs.
“I extend my congratulations and thanks to these accomplished teachers,” Gregoire said. “It is clear they take their work seriously every day and they have shown that in the completion of the national board process. Our state's students are fortunate to experience their expertise.”
WEA president Mary Lindquist praised the news. “Today is an exciting day for Washington state and for the teaching profession,” she said. “The WEA is proud to support teachers in seeking this prestigious credential and in their efforts to improve our schools. Washington state is recognized as a national model for our work with National Board certification.
“Now, more than ever, we must maintain our investment in National Board certification, which research shows does improve student learning, particularly for students in some of our neediest communities.”
This year, about 64 percent of teachers attempting Board certification for the first time passed, a rate far above the national average. “This year's certification rate is a true testament to the teachers in WA who continually strive to serve their students by growing their professional practice,” said Jeanne Harmon, executive director of CSTP. “We at CSTP are proud and honored to support teachers in a statewide network of systematic support as they rise to meet ever-changing demands of education.”
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.
“We see ourselves as a team”
Mirror Lake Elementary School in Federal Way is a challenging school, with 72 percent of the students receiving free or reduced-priced lunches. This year, 10 Mirror Lake teachers became new NBCTs. Overall, 40 percent of the school’s staff are NBCTs.
Principal Maggie O’Sullivan said collaboration was a big reason for the school’s success. “The benefits of having so many teachers working on their certification together were amazing,” she said. “At Mirror Lake we see ourselves as a team. The wonderful effort on behalf of the teachers and their cohort leader resulted in all teachers receiving their Board certification. I know that we are a better school today because of this process. They were supported by the state, by the district and by their cohort leader, but most of all by each other.”
“That support through the district and through the state was critical in the success of our teachers,” O’Sullivan said. “They had a monthly support group. Whereas at another school it might have been just the monthly meeting that promoted the understanding of the national board, with our school it was part of the daily conversation. The National Board process gave us a unified vocabulary to talk about student achievement and helped us to continually ask the question, ‘How is this impacting student achievement?’
“At Mirror Lake we have good teachers. But what sets us apart is that they continually push themselves to become better. This makes Mirror Lake a great place for students to learn.”
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.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
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