By Bill Guy
Joanne Murray (right) makes her point while Maggie Devlin listens. Both are from the Vista Teachers Association.
Why? The “best” experience that actually enhances teaching
“Students are the most important beneficiaries of teachers going through the process of achieving National Board Certification,” said 12-year veteran kindergarten teacher Alia Morales, a Corona-Norco Teachers Association member. “It helped me get to know my students on a more personal level and to work better with their families to support their children’s learning and educational development.”
Morales joined CTA colleagues at a groundbreaking event for National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), local leaders and interested CTA members. The one-day event, titled “Moving the Teaching Profession Forward Using the National Board Process,” was a workshop session presented before the Good Teaching Conference.
“To have CTA and my local union behind me is such a wonderful validation of my belief that National Board Certification is the best professional development to help educators improve student learning,” said Christi Van Wyhe, Vista Teachers Association. “An added benefit is that this critical component of increasing teacher effectiveness and increasing student learning is one on which teachers unions and school boards agree.”
The pre-conference session provided the opportunity to discuss the National Board Certification process and its potential for positively impacting school cultures, local professional development efforts, teacher effectiveness, student learning, and CTA leadership development.
“It was such a great experience to sit in a room with like-minded educators and to hear the changes they are actively making in their school and districts. The experience greatly expanded my concept of what might be possible,” said Karin Barone, who has taught fourth-grade language arts and fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade science for 11 years as a member of the Orange Unified Education Association.
Barone earned her NBC in November 2001, and is looking for opportunities in her district to build interest and support for others to go through the process.
Participant Susie Chow is the coordinator of United Teachers Los Angeles’ NBCT Support Network, a group of educators who provide mentoring and other support services to colleagues. “National Board Certification is the most rigorous and valid path toward raising the level of our profession because it assesses teachers on their pedagogy and content knowledge, enabling us to take charge of our professional practice and growth,” she said.
CTA and better teaching
The pre-conference session is one of several CTA-facilitated initiatives supporting National Board candidates and NBCTs to promote professional development and increase student achievement.
CTA’s Institute for Teaching has awarded grants for collaborative projects, including a $6,600 grant to San Bernardino Teachers Association member Ashley Bettas to establish an NBC Candidate Support Program, and a $6,000 grant to Oceanside Teachers Association member Jennifer Skellett for a project called TEAM (Teachers Enhancing Accomplished Methods). Both programs focus on networking and sharing expertise.
For more about any aspect of CTA’s support for NBC candidates or teachers, visit cta.org/IPD.