Number of ISD Certified teachers almost doubled.
It's official: Issaquah educators are among the best in the nation! Thirteen Issaquah teachers in December earned National Board Certification (NBC), one of the highest awards in the U.S. for professional excellence in teaching.
"These newly Certified teachers have spent a tremendous amount of personal time and effort to become the best practitioners they can be, and I thank them profusely for the positive impact they will make on children's lives in their classrooms," Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. "A powerful classroom teacher is the most influential educational factor on a student's success."
NBC is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and reward great teachers—and make them better. While state licensing systems set basic requirements to teach in each state, Certified teachers have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices. NBC is the only credential process that compares a teacher's knowledge and skills with a national set of professional standards. The Certification process requires teachers to reflect on how they form and deliver lessons and how they demonstrate leadership in their schools and communities.
The District's newly Certified teachers are:
- Carol Best, Second Grade, Discovery Elementary
- Lori Fisher, First Grade, Endeavour Elementary
- Kara Heaphy, Science, Beaver Lake Middle School
- Gabrielle Herring, Kindergarten, Endeavour Elementary
- Kathryn Krueger, Music, Challenger Elementary
- Jennifer Mountford, Language Arts, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus
- Rena Pitasky, Math, Pine Lake Middle School
- Carrie Reckling, Spanish, Beaver Lake Middle School
- Kourtney Smith, First Grade, Discovery Elementary
- Ann Swiftney, Humanities, Issaquah Middle School
- Leah Van More, Science, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus
- Michele Van More, Humanities, Pine Lake Middle School
- Jonathan Whitney, World Studies, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus
The application process is intense. The 13 NBC inductees averaged about 400 hours each throughout last school year putting together two-part submission packages that included: A portfolio with a lesson plans, student work samples, and a videotape of live classroom teaching—all of which demonstrated the teacher's impact on student learning; and a written assessment that showed the teacher's mastery of subject-area knowledge, classroom practices, and curriculum design. A national panel of teachers approved their portfolio.
The newly Certified group brings the total number of NBC teachers in the Issaquah School District to 28. This school year, 27 teachers are in the midst of the process.
Statewide, Washington ranks eighth in the nation for number of NBC teachers—2,717 teachers (more than 5 percent). State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson expressed enthusiasm for the teachers. "What I continue to find so amazing is the personal growth the teachers go through during the application process," she said. "So many teachers have told me that they learn not only how to be better teachers, but how to be better people. They've learned so much more about themselves: their capacity, their limits. And they take all that new knowledge back to the classroom.
"Just as important, the system that allows them to go through the process wouldn't be as strong as it is in Washington if everyone – principals, district leaders, even community members – didn't understand its importance and didn't support it."
Locally, the Issaquah Schools Foundation supports NBC candidates by awarding grants of $500 to $1,500 to partially cover the application cost.
A Congressionally-mandated report in June affirmed the positive impact Board certification has on student achievement and teacher retention. The report, by the National Research Council, was researched during a 30-month period beginning in 2005. Recognizing the value of National Board Certification, the state Legislature has provided Washington teachers a $5,000 bonus for completing the process.
More information is online at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Are you a teacher interested in National Board Certification?
The Issaquah Schools Foundation awards grants of $500 to $1,500 to support District teachers who apply for NBC. Teachers can learn more about the Issaquah School District's Certification support system at www.intranet.issaquah.wednet.edu/NBChome.htm.
The District is hosting two upcoming informational seminars:
- Monday, February 2, 2009; 4:30-5:30 pm
- Monday, March 9, 2009; 4:30-5:30 pm