The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has announced that seven additional teachers in the Watauga County Schools have achieved National Board Certification, the highest professional credential available in the teaching profession
This year’s newly certified teachers include Kelly Beckley and Disa Mast-Herring of Hardin Park, April Eichmiller of Green Valley,
Allyson McFalls of Blowing Rock, Karla Price of Bethel, Heather Tedder of Watauga High School, and Laura Young at Cove Creek.
“We congratulate these seven teachers on their completion of the very challenging and rewarding process of attaining National Board Certification,” said Superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric. “The commitment of our personnel to continuous professional development is a major reason for the success of our schools and the growth of our students. Nothing better demonstrates that commitment than pursuing National Board Certification and we are very proud of our personnel who meet this demanding national standard of professional excellence.”
This year’s class raises the total number of Watauga County Schools teachers and administrators with National Board Certification to 106, representing approximately 25% of teachers, counselors, media specialists, and administrators in the school system. While new figures on the proportion of Board Certified personnel in each school district are not yet available, WCS ranked third in the state in the percentage of Board Certified teachers and administrators for 2010-11 and is expected to retain a similar ranking for 2011-12.
Over 1,200 teachers in North Carolina achieved certification this year and North Carolina leads the nation in the number of Board Certified teachers by a wide margin. The state has a total of 19,193 Board Certified teachers, representing nearly 20% of all Board Certified faculty in the country.
For the first time, figures were released this year on the number of teachers who have achieved National Board Certification broken out by the college or university from which they graduated. At the top of the national rankings is Appalachian State University, with 130 alumni who are National Board Certified teachers.
Achieving National Board Certification is a demanding and completely voluntary process in which teachers invest hundreds of hours of additional effort above and beyond their normal workload to complete the required assessments and documents. The process includes submission of teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes, and written materials that assess teachers’ knowledge of their subject matter and their grasp of how to teach the subject.
WCS teachers seeking certification enjoy the support of the school system’s National Board Academy, which provides mentoring and other resources for those engaged in the certification process. Led by Student Services Director Clarissa Schmal and Parkway teacher Susan Wilson – both of whom are Board Certified - the Academy’s support has helped boost both the number of candidates pursuing certification and their success in achieving certification. The pass rate for WCS teachers seeking National Board Certification is 75%, more than twice the national average.
At the state level, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction supports candidates with up to three days of paid leave to prepare for Board Certification and a 12% raise good for the ten year life of the certification. In past years, the state also paid the $2,500 assessment fee for Board Certification candidates but this funding has been cut from the state budget.
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%) 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, and 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.
Additional information about National Board Certification is available online at www.nbpts.org.