Jones Institute for Educational Excellence
Emporia State University
1 Kellogg Circle
Campus Box 4036
Emporia, KS 66801
Main Office - 620-341-5372
Toll Free 1-877-378-5433
CONTACTS: Alvin Peters, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-877-378-5433, 620-341-5372
KC Metro Area Teachers Achieve National Board Certification
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Seven teachers from school districts in the KC metro area have achieved the highest credential available to American educators as a National Board Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
During the 2011-12 school year, nearly a dozen educators from across the state went through the challenging process of becoming National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs).
In late November the teachers were informed their work had measured up – they are now NBCTs.
USD 229, Blue Valley –
Lisa Ciminieri teaches second grade at Harmony Elementary School. She earned her certification in early and middle childhood / literacy: reading-language arts.
Ashley DeForest teaches first grade at Heartland Elementary School. She earned her certification in early and middle childhood / literacy: reading-language arts.
Catherine Healy is a literacy and math coach at Oak Hill Elementary School and works in the district’s main office. She earned her certification in early and middle childhood / literacy: reading-language arts.
Erin Pearson is a communication arts teacher at Blue Valley Northwest High School. She earned her certification in adolescence and young adulthood / English language arts.
These four teachers are among the 62 NBCTs working in USD 229.
USD 232, De Soto –
Brandi Leggett is a third grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School. She earned her certification in middle childhood / generalist.
Wendy Ping is an art teacher for Kindergarten through fifth grade at Prairie Ridge Elementary School. She earned her certification in early and middle childhood/art. Only Ping and one other Kansas teacher have certificates in this area.
Leggett and Ping now join two other NBCTs working in USD 232.
USD 500, Kansas City –
Tamara Hedenskog is a Special Education Life Skills Teacher at Stony Point North Elementary School. She earned her certification in early childhood through young adulthood / exceptional needs specialist.
She is now one of three NBCTs working in USD 500.
A recent comprehensive study by the nonpartisan National Research Council found that students taught by board certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by other teachers.
“This process of board certification is similar to how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Dr. Roger Caswell, former director of Emporia State University’s program which assists teachers working toward national certification. “This is voluntary – no state, school district, or program is demanding them to go through this process. That’s why – a decade after earning their certification the first time – it’s a huge commitment to say, ‘Yes, I want to do it again.’”
While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, National Board Certified Teachers have demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. National certification takes from one to three years to complete.
The process is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award. Alvin Peters, the current director of the program, adds, “National Board certification is a different kind of honor. Teachers must submit extensive documentation of their instruction, including videos of their students at work in the classroom.”
The accomplishment of national board certification benefits the teachers, the schools they work in, and studies have shown NBCTs improve student learning. The program hosted at ESU, Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, has a 79% initial certification rate over the past seven years. This is nearly twice the national initial certification rate of 40%. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.