More WCS Teachers Earn National Board Certification, Rate Drops After State Stops Paying $2,500 Assessment Fee 

Published Monday, December 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

Dec. 7, 2014. The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has announced that Amanda Huff of Watauga High School and Erin Selle of Hardin Park School have achieved National Board Certification, the highest professional credential available in the teaching profession.

Six additional teachers in the Watauga County Schools achieved renewed certification this year, including Amy Eberle, Cheryl Irwin, and Tracey Saunders of Hardin Park; Tonya McKinney of Mabel; Donna Raichle of Parkway; and Cynthia Townsend of Cove Creek. Regina Alford of Watauga High School also achieved renewed certification but resigned her position earlier this year.

“We congratulate these teachers on achieving and renewing National Board Certification,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. “Attaining Board Certification is a demanding process, but one that teachers will tell you really does help improve instruction. The time and effort these teachers invested in completing the certification process testifies to their passionate commitment to their students and their profession. We are extremely proud of their accomplishment and of the outstanding work they do in our schools.”

The eight teachers receiving new or renewed Board Certification will be invited to the January meeting of the Board of Education to be recognized for their achievement.

A total of 87 Watauga County Schools teachers and administrators currently possess National Board Certification, representing approximately 20 percent of the teachers and other licensed faculty in the school system. WCS ranked fourth out of 115 school districts in the state in the percentage of Board Certified teachers and administrators for 2012-13, the latest year for which comparative figures are available.

North Carolina leads all states in the number of Board Certified teachers by a wide margin. The state has a total of 20,611 Board Certified personnel, representing nearly 19 percent of all Board Certified teachers in the country. However, the number of additional NC teachers achieving certification dropped sharply in recent years after the state stopped paying the assessment fee of $2,500. Teachers are now eligible for a low interest loan to pay the fee.

Teachers must achieve licensure to be part of the profession, but achieving National Board Certification is a voluntary step that involves an intensive assessment process. It requires teachers to invest hundreds of hours above and beyond their normal workload to complete and submit teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes, and written materials that are used to measure each candidate’s knowledge of their subject matter and their teaching skills.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction supports candidates for Board Certification with up to three days of paid release time to prepare the necessary materials. The state also awards a 12 percent raise good for ten years to teachers that achieve this credential.

Research has shown that achieving National Board Certification is a strong indication of high quality instruction and increased student achievement. According to a study by the University of Washington and the Urban Institute, students taught by National Board Certified teachers perform measurably better on end-of-course tests and the improvement is especially significant (up to 15 percent) for younger and lower income students. Another study at UNC-Greensboro found that Board Certified teachers outperform other teachers on 11 of 13 key measures of teaching expertise. A comprehensive study by the National Research Council found that students taught by Board Certified teachers show higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by other teachers.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, noted in a recent statement that Board Certification “is so much more than a certificate that hangs on a wall…. It’s a challenging process that allows good teachers to reflect on their practices—what works and what they can improve upon.” Additional information about National Board Certification is available online at www.nbpts.org.

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