Issaquah School District teachers earn board certification

January 17, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

After what was described as hundreds of hours of self-evaluation and assessment, 24 more Issaquah School District teachers have earned National Board Certification.

According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, those 24 bring to 105 the total number of local teachers to earn board credentials.

“I am proud and thankful to have these teachers in our classrooms,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. “Educators choose to go through this process to grow as professionals and to certify that their practices align with research-based best practices nationwide. It requires rigorous demonstration of skill and self analysis and, ultimately, every student in their classroom receives the benefit.”

According to information released by the district, national board certification is a voluntary teacher assessment program. State licensing systems establish a baseline of requirements for teachers. But certified teachers have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices.

The national board program is the only credential process that compares a teacher’s knowledge and skills with a national set of professional standards. Teachers must demonstrate reflection on how they develop and deliver lessons, as well as show leadership in their schools and in the outside community.

The application process for national certification is involved. Candidates average about 400 hours throughout the school year to put together a two-part submission package that includes things such as lesson plans and a videotape of the teacher at work in the classroom.

At the state level, Washington continues to place near the top of the list in terms of the number of public school teachers that are board certified.

Numbers recently released by the national board show that Washington has the second most newly board certified teachers with 945. According to the national board website, North Carolina had the most number of newly board certified teachers with 1,244.

The state is fourth overall in the number of certified teachers with 6,242, by the state’s reckoning.

In terms of the most number of board certified teachers, North Carolina is No. 1 with 19,193 teachers, Florida is second, South Carolina is third and Washington is fourth with 6,174 certified teachers, according to the national board website. National board numbers can be slightly different than state numbers as teachers have the right to option out of the national listings, according to Nathan Olson, communications manager for the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“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 rules that award a $5,000 bonus to each board certified teacher. Teachers can receive an additional $5,000 if they teach in “challenging” schools, which are defined as having a certain percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

More than 30 percent of new Washington board certified teachers work in challenging schools and 25 percent of all board certified teachers are in a challenging school.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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