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Program for Educators Supported by Business Hits Landmark

For nearly 20 years, an area business has supported the efforts of educators pushing for one of the most prestigious accomplishments a teacher can achieve: national board certification.

“Each year we have anywhere from 30 to 50 teachers who come to an orientation session to find out about the process and determine if and how they can do what must be done as a national board candidate,” said Alvin Peters, director of the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification based at Emporia State University’s Jones Institute for Educational Excellence.

“Through written and video documentation, the candidates demonstrate what they do in the classroom, how they instruct students. But the teachers also have to show how they interact with parents, their professional and area communities, how they use assessments and data, and how they plan to continue to grow as professionals,” Peters said. “Reflection is key in this process.” 

This year the Great Plains Center passed a landmark: more than $130,000 has been given by the State Farm Insurance Companies over the past 19 consecutive years to help support the program. This year’s gift was for $8,000.

“State Farm is proud to join National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to recognize and support teachers who are dedicated and committed to education excellence,” said Pete Euler, a State Farm agent in Emporia. “I am proud to have been given the opportunity to present the grant on behalf of the Great Plains Center and have enjoyed the partnership.”  

Euler played a major role in advancing the original ESU proposal to the State Farm Foundation Kansas-Oklahoma regional office in Tulsa. Euler has continued to support the center’s proposals to the State Farm Foundation.

“With the increased interest in national board certification, the financial support from State Farm truly makes a difference. State Farm’s generosity and commitment serve as an excellent example of how the partnership between private and public funding sources provides access to the academy for all teachers in the state,” said Dr. Ken Weaver, Dean of The Teachers College.

Over the years, the program has grown from offering support for first-time candidates, to now providing:

  • advanced candidate support – for candidates who may not have reached the destination of completing or becoming a national board certified teacher (teachers have three years to earn successful scores)
  • renewal candidate support – national board certification lasts for 10 years, if a teacher wants to remain an NBCT, s/he has to once again submit materials and documentation about their work as a professional educator
  • expanding NBCT leadership in Kansas – supporting educators to further their efforts as advocates for their profession

This year approximately 45 teachers from across Kansas attended orientations led by Peters in Emporia, Garden City, and Hays; the teachers will receive assistance from the Great Plains Center as they work towards their certification. For more information about the NBPTS program at ESU, visit

About National Board for Professional Teaching Standards  

NBPTS was created in 1987 after the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy’s Task Force on Teaching as a Profession released “A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century.” Shortly after its release, NBPTS issued its first policy statement: “What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do.” This policy established the Five Core Propositions:

  • Proposition 1: Teachers are Committed to Students and Their Learning
  • Proposition 2: Teachers Know the Subjects They Teach and How to Teach Those Subjects to Students
  • Proposition 3: Teachers are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student Learning
  • Proposition 4: Teachers Think Systematically about Their Practice and Learn from Experience
  • Proposition 5: Teachers are Members of Learning Communities

In a congressionally mandated study, National Board Certification was recognized by the National Research Council as having a positive impact on student achievement, teacher retention, and professional development.