Three teachers in the Lowndes County School District recently received national board certification.
With those three, the number of nationally board certified teachers in the district jumps to 44. The district employs approximately 440 teachers, Robin Ballard, the district’s deputy superintendent and curriculum coordinator, said.
Out of 310 teachers, the Columbus Municipal School District has 17 that are nationally board certified, according to Pamela Lenoir, CMSD’s director of accountability and compliance. CMSD also has 10 nationally certified counselors and nurses on staff.
To earn national board certification, teachers must submit examples of their work to the national board and are then reviewed by their peers. Once certified, Ballard said, teachers in the county school district receive a $6,000 increase in salary. The city teachers who earn their national board certification also earn an additional $6,000 a year, Lenoir said.
Based on five core propositions, board certified teachers “are committed to students and their learning, know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students, are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning, think systematically about their practice and learn from experience and are members of learning communities,” according to www.nbpts.org, the board’s website.
Ballard, who is nationally certified, said the process is arduous.
“The National Board Certification process is lengthy and deeply impacts instruction, even if the candidate does not certify in the first attempt,” she said. “It is affirming that what we do every day is considered best practice as evaluated by a blind process. This means that the portfolio that is submitted by a National Board Candidate has no identifying characteristics, no names of the teacher, state, school or students. Once submitted, it passes through several reviewers who must all agree that it meets the high standards set forth in the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Those four letters, NBCT, tell parents and stakeholders that the teacher’s instructional practices meet profession-driven standards that are nationally recognized as those which advance student learning and achievement.”
Lenoir said the process is “a lot of self-reflection on teaching practices.”
“These teachers have gone through a rigorous process in order to achieve these credentials,” Lenoir said. “The process that they go through, it makes them reflect on what being a great teacher is all about and they’re able to apply that in their classroom on a daily basis.”
Calls to the Starkville School District were not returned by press time.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.