ISD doubles number of nationally certified teachers

Just in time for the holiday season, twenty-one teachers in the Issaquah School District received an extra special gift this month — notification that they earned National Board Certification, one of the highest designations in the U.S. for professional excellence in teaching.

“I cannot commend these educators enough,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. “They stepped up to the challenge and proved they are among the best in the nation. The process was rigorous and time intensive, but they were persistent because of their dedication to their students and their profession.”

NBC is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and reward great teachers—and make them better. While state licensing systems establish a baseline of requirements for teachers, Certified teachers have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices. NBC is the only credential process that compares a teacher’s knowledge and skills with a national set of professional standards. The process requires teachers to reflect on how they form and deliver lessons and demonstrate leadership in their schools and communities.

The application process is intense. NBC candidates average about 400 hours throughout the school year putting together a two-part submission package that includes: 1. A portfolio with a lesson plans, student work samples, and a videotape of live classroom teaching, all of which demonstrates the teacher’s impact on student learning; and 2. A written assessment that shows the teacher’s mastery of subject-area knowledge, classroom practices, and curriculum design.

A national panel of teachers either approves the submission or returns it to the applicant for further development.

“I learned so much from the process,” newly Certified teacher Laura Berry said. “I find myself being even more thoughtful about my planning every day. There is so much that goes into meeting the needs of kids. The National Board process has helped me be very reflective and purposeful.”

The Issaquah School District’s 2009 National Board Certified teachers are:

* Vale Baxter, math and physical education, Issaquah High School

* Laura Berry, librarian, Sunny Hills Elementary School

* Jodi Carter, math, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus

* Marla Crouch, science, Maywood Middle School

* Keri Dean, language arts and SAIL, Issaquah High School

* Chelsea Dziedzic, fourth grade, Grand Ridge Elementary School

* Eric Ensey, technology, humanities, electives; Pine Lake Middle School

* Caroline Friesen, world studies, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus

* Dawn Harper, third grade, Issaquah Valley Elementary

* Shannon Henderson, language arts, Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus

* Julie Howard, fourth grade, Maple Hills Elementary School

* Tia Kleinkopf, fifth grade, Sunny Hills Elementary School

* Leslie Lederman, technology specialist, Administration

* Gayle Melton, third grade, Challenger Elementary School

* Eric Nelson, fourth-grade MERLIN, Apollo Elementary School

* Kimberly Ralph, fifth-grade MERLIN, Endeavour Elementary School

* Rebecca Rappin, fourth grade, Grand Ridge Elementary

* Michelle Ruth Frindell, humanities, Skyline High School

* Karen Sunmark, band, Maywood Middle School

* Cristina Uramis, Spanish, Issaquah High School

* Reyna Yamamoto, first grade, Discovery Elementary School

This group brings the District’s total number of NBC teachers to 49.

Statewide, Washington ranks second in the nation in for the number of teachers achieving Board Certification this year (1,248) and fifth in the nation for number of total NBC teachers (3,964).

Locally, the Issaquah Schools Foundation supports NBC candidates by awarding grants of $500 to $1,500 to partially cover the application cost.

A Congressionally-mandated report by the National Research Council in 2008 affirmed the positive impact Board certification has on student achievement and teacher retention. Recognizing this value, the state Legislature enacted a $5,000 bonus for Washington teachers who complete the process.