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November 9, 2011

Olathe Teachers Measure Up – Again

picture - Sandra AmesLast year, three educators in Olathe USD 233 were among Kansas educators deciding if they wanted to go through a rigorous journey – again.

Within the last ten years, Sandra Ames, Julie Miller, and Kate Thompson went through the challenging year-long process of becoming National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). A year ago, they to renew their certificates as the life of their original 10-year certificates was soon to expire.

In late October these Olathe teachers found their work had measured up when they received notice their national board certifications were renewed.

picture - Julie MillerThe teachers work in the following schools and renewed certification in the following area:

•    Sandra Ames, Heatherstone Elementary School – Library Media / Early Childhood through Young Adulthood
•    Julie Miller, Instructional Resource Center – Science / Early Adolescence
•    Kate Thompson, Olathe Northwest High School – Library Media / Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

These three are among the 39 NBCTs working in USD 233.

picture - Kate Thompson“This process of board certification is very much like how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Dr. Roger Caswell, director of ESU’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 the process is often misunderstood to mean that a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award, Caswell explained 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. And the program hosted at ESU, Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, benefits as it maintains a 100% renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.

Kansas currently has a total of 318 national board certified teachers. Nationwide, the total number of national board certified teachers is more than 91,000.

Is your teacher national board certified?

They are among the best teachers in the profession, undergoing a rigorous process taking at least one year.

They are told to expect a 400-hour time commitment, and less than half will pass on their first try.

National Board Certified Teachers represent less than one percent of all educators in Kansas, reflecting the dedication and skill required to earn the elite certification. The voluntary process is the equivalent of national board certification for physicians and other health professions.

Some 318 teachers in Kansas are national board-certified, with many teaching in larger school districts.

School District        

Total # Certified

Blue Valley








Geary County


To see a list of National Board Certified Teachers in Kansas, go to www.nbpts.org/resources/nbct_directory/.

Kansas is 35th in the nation in total number of NBCTs.

By late November teachers who worked toward initial certification during the 2010-11 school year will find out if they achieved National Board Certification.