The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan agency governed by a board of directors consisting mostly of teachers. NBPTS collaborates with teachers and psychometricians to develop one of the most the rigorous certifications in education, the National Board Certification (NBC).
According to NBPTS, the purpose of NBC is to "develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide." Teachers earn National Board Certification by meeting strict standards involving self-assessment, peer review, study and expert evaluation.
How Educators Benefit from National Board Certification
Based on a consensus among educators, the NBC contains standards for what teachers need to know and what strategies they need to use to help their students improve learning outcomes.
NBC teachers have proven they have a deep knowledge and understanding of their students, content, data, assessment and teaching practice. Furthermore, they contribute to learning communities and provide evidence that they continue to reflect and learn.
NBPTS lists research from Mississippi, Washington, California and Georgia that has found students of board-certified teachers learn more than students of their peers who lack certification. Moreover, NBCs continue to improve and hone their practice.
School and district leaders recognize NBC teachers as experts and tap them for leadership roles. NBPTS reports that many National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) work as school and district administrators, team leaders, department chairs and instructional coaches.
The road to NBC is challenging, but worth it, as NBCTs are a rare breed. Almost 120,000 teachers have Board certification. While that sounds like a lot, it's not when you break it down by state. In Kansas, for example, only 433 teachers have their National Board Certification. Any teacher with NBC on his or her resume will likely gain a strong advantage over other candidates for the same job.
Where to Start on the Path Toward NBC
NBPTS provides a roadmap with the steps to becoming board-certified. To be eligible, teachers need to possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, at least three years of classroom experience and a state license.
One option is to enroll in a graduate program like the Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction -- National Board Certification PreK-12 from Emporia State University. Such a program can prepare you for the National Board Certification review process. ESU's program incorporates building a portfolio and organizing professional documentation, both required by the NBPTS for certification.
Check with your district or state to see if they provide NBC stipends. In some cases, candidates can get federal monies or use professional development funds to help with NBC and graduate school fees. Many states and districts offer salary incentives, conditional loans or free support to help teachers achieve NBC. Certification may count toward state licensure, renewal or step increase.
After completing the program, you will not only have an M.S., but you will also find yourself further along in the NBC process.
Sources:National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: National Board Process Overview
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