Nov. 18, 2014 | National Board Certification

What is National Board Certification?
All students deserve accomplished teachers who are equipped to prepare them for success in today's world. National Board Standards and National Board Certification give teachers and schools the tools to define and measure teaching excellence. Similar to certification in fields like medicine, National Board Certification is a rigorous, peer-reviewed process that ensures that Board-certified teachers have proven skills to advance student achievement.
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential. As part of this process, teachers must analyze their teaching context and students’ needs, submit videos of their teaching, and provide student work samples that demonstrate growth and achievement. The reflective analyses that they submit must demonstrate:
1) A strong command of content;
2) The ability to design appropriate learning experiences that advance student learning;
3) The use of assessments to inform instructional decision making; and
4) Partnerships with colleagues, parents and the community.
Through this structured and iterative process, teachers expand and refine their content knowledge and pedagogy. The outcome is more powerful teaching that improves student achievement and reflects college and career readiness.
Tammy Clark, POLAHS English Instructor
Accomplishing National Board Certification was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Although the process was rigorous and time consuming, every bit of it was worthwhile. The process strengthened my planning and instruction by forcing me to provide layers of documentation of my instruction and proof of student achievement. The video recording part of the process allows candidates to see themselves teaching in order to analyze their interactions with their students. The extensive process of National Board Certification provides opportunities to identify areas within yourself, within your students, and within your school community, that can be improved upon.
Mrs. LopezLavalle's students will benefit from her Certification because National Board creates a habit of continually evaluating and re-evaluating, refining and improving all areas of instruction.
Rachel LopezLavalle, POLAHS English Instructor
For me, there really was nothing like the first time I realized I was the responsible adult in the classroom and that student success was up to me. I had received good feedback from Ms. Clark and others who had completed the National Certification program and hoped it would help me.
I was skeptical at first. Some teacher professional development can be busywork, not well planned out, or not targeted toward the specific needs of teachers. Additionally, for the National Certification program, teachers have to pay to participate, to complete several months of portfolio work, and to take a few challenging written exams. In the end, there is no guarantee of passing, and, in fact, many teachers do not pass. If I was going to give National Certification a try, I wanted to make sure it would be worth all my time, money, and effort. It was.
Throughout the portfolio process I was challenged to think about all parts of lesson planning, from year-long plans, to organization of units, to structure of lessons. I had to be honest with myself and self-assess my personal strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of individual lessons. It forced me to look at the range of students in my classes and rethink how I was presenting information and making content accessible for all students. I became better at writing quizzes, tests, and writing assignments that more accurately reflected students’ mastery of standards. I learned to look at other excellent examples of teaching around me for inspiration.
I am so honored to be counted among the National Board Certified Teachers and grateful to Ms. Clark and others who were supportive of me throughout the process.