Six area teachers complete rigorous steps to pass National Board Certification

Four teachers from the Union County School District and two teachers from New Albany School District will officially receive their National Board Certification on Dec. 4.

Myra Pannell of East Union Attendance Center, Heather Willard, Beverly Fitzgerald and Amy Jennings of West Union Attendance Center and Laura Reedy and Christy Pipkin of New Albany Elementary School have completed the rigorous process to join an elite group of teachers who are nationally certified.

I learned on Nov. 17 that I had passed, Pannell said. It has been a long process, but it was worth it.

Only four out of ten teachers attempting national certification pass the first time. Once teachers apply for National Board Certification and submit all eligibility forms, it may take up to three years to complete the certification process, according to the national certification boards website. Teachers must demonstrate their teaching practice by submitting portfolio entries and completing assessment center exercises.

On Pannells desk lies a five-inch binder filled with forms and essays required by the certification board. The binder is so packed; it looks as though another piece of paper could not fit into it.

The board really wants to see how you impact your students in a positive way, Pannell said.

Four portfolio entries are submitted, three of which are classroom based, where video recordings and examples of student work serve as supporting documentation. A fourth entry relates to a teachers accomplishments outside of the classroom, with families, the community or colleagues, and how they impact student learning.

Teachers must also take computerized assessment tests, demonstrating content knowledge in response to six exercises developed for a teachers chosen certificate area.

The portfolios and exercises are then graded by a board of minimum 12 teachers who have successfully completed intensive training and have been qualified for scoring based on their understanding of NBPTS standards and guidelines.

Last year, Mississippi had a total of 2,555 nationally certified teachers. These teachers are rewarded for their efforts with a salary supplement of $6,000 per year for the life of the certificate, which is ten years and can be renewable with a shorter process. The certification also renews a teachers Mississippi Teaching License for one five-year period.

According to the boards publication, 55,000 Reasons to Believe, research shows that National Board Certified teachers consistently outperform their peers in knowledge of subject matter and ability to create lessons.