National Board Certification
The Natrona County School District supports its teachers and staff members who pursue National Board Certification. The district, in conjunction with the state and statewide foundations, provide financial incentives, mentor support, and even a little bit of time to help employees pursue this distinction.
What is it?
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “It complements, but does not replace, a state’s teacher license. It is valid for 10 years, and renewal candidates must begin their renewal process during their eighth or ninth years as NBCTs.
National Board Certification is achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do. National Board Certification is available nationwide for most preK-12 teachers.
The minimum requirements to apply for National Board Certification are:
* A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution,
* Three complete years of successful teaching in one or more early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary schools. (Note that applicants for ECYA/School Counseling must have completed three years successfully serving as a school counselor in one or more early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary schools to meet the employment eligibility requirement.)
* A valid state teaching license.
The National Board Certification process may take from one to three years to complete. Throughout this period, candidates become familiar with the standards for their certificate areas, review their content to prepare for assessment center exercises, and evaluate their teaching practices as they prepare their portfolio entries.
Certification standards are available in 16 different subject areas. Based on these standards, NBPTS offers 25 certificates that are applicable to most teachers in American Schools. For the complete list, click here.
Candidates submit the following components for scoring:
* Analysis of and reflection on student learning based on small and large group work with students that is supported by video recordings of classroom teaching (two portfolio entries)
* Analysis of and reflection on student learning using student work samples (one portfolio entry)
* Documented accomplishments of working with families and the community, colleagues, and the profession, and evidence of how that work impacts student learning (one portfolio entry)
* Responses to online assessment exercises that demonstrate subject-matter expertise (six 30-minute constructed response exercises scheduled at a computer-based assessment center)
Those who have experienced the process estimate that it takes 200 to 400 hours of work for the portfolio. Portfolios are due each March, with results released each November.
Certification is considered a three-year process. Though candidates may submit work in the first year, few certify on the first try. Ongoing support is available for multiple attempts at the process.
National Board Certification requires a $2,565 initial fee.
The state of Wyoming supports local candidates by subsidizing $1,000 of the fee through the Professional Teaching Standards Board.
The John P. Ellbogen Foundation pays another $1,000 of the fee up front.
The state also pays a $4,000 per year bonus for teachers who achieve National Board Certification. The Ellbogen Foundation pays a one-time, $1,000 bonus and hosts an annual celebration for newly certified teachers.
This leaves an out-of-pocket expense of $565 for a candidate.
The Wyoming National Board Certification Initiative provides statewide support for teachers seeking certification. Trained teachers, many of whom have completed the certification process, provide workshops and mentoring for candidates. Some workshops include:
* Running Start, offered in June and October. This three-day workshop workshop outlines the standards, requirements and ongoing support opportunities. Candidates also can get to know others who are in the process with them and can begin writing their entries.
* Candidate Support Workshops, offered in October, January, and February. These workshops are held after school on a Friday and the following Saturday. The workshops tend to be unstructured, with trained teachers available to help analyze videos, provide feedback on entries, offer emotional support, or just afford candidates a quiet atmosphere to type.
The initiative pays for all costs, except travel and evening meetings, for these workshops. That means breakfasts, lunches, the workshop fee, and lodging are covered.
In the Natrona County School District, NBC teacher Barb Maguire also offers a cohort each year for local teachers pursuing certification. The group meets about three hours per week from October through April. The cohort meetings also are unstructured, with Maguire available to read entries, provide technical support, or just listen to candidates’ concerns.
The Natrona County School District also provides two substitute days for teachers to attend workshops or work on their certification, and individual buildings may provide additional substitute time.
The Take One program, sponsored by the NPTSB, allows educators to submit one pre-selected video portfolio entry from any of the current certificate areas of National Board Certification. The program is open to all teachers, including those who do not yet meet the experience requirements for the complete NBC process. If an educator passes the Take One program, that score can transfer to later certification.
For more information on National Board Certification or the Wyoming National Board Certification Initiative, please follow the above links.