Submitted by Orcas Island School District
As we head into the new year we are pleased to spotlight the professional growth of our staff, particularly as it concerns their efforts to better their teaching practice.
Kim Freeman, Kristee Rajczi, Martha Inch, Lorena Stankevich, Paula Towne and Pamela Wright are pursuing, or have already been recognized as National Board Certified – an advanced teaching credential that is nationally recognized as the gold standard. The credential is offered by the nonprofit, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The certification serves to complement, not replace, a state teacher’s license.
More than a decade of research from across the country confirms that students taught by National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) learn more than students taught by other teachers. Estimates of the increase in learning are on the order of an additional one to two months of instruction and the positive impact is even greater for high-need students. Study after study has proven that the students of board-certified teachers learn more — and the impact is greater for low-income students.
Stankevich, Inch and Towne each attained their credentials.
“Going through the process was difficult. That being said, it has had the greatest impact on me as an educator. I am more reflective about everything I do. My goal is to support every child through differentiated instruction, the NBCT process brings all of this together. I am proud to be an NBCT,” Stankevich said.
“Obtaining this certification was the most challenging academic endeavor I have done. However, the rewards that came from working with a fellow teacher to examine and center my teaching practice are many and continue to shape the way I teach,” Inch said. “For me, the ability to reflect, adjust and create are key to success. This certification allowed me the opportunity to grow this process.”
“The process is not about documenting everything I do as a teacher, but deeply analyzing small parts of my practice so that I could truly understand it and then apply it to other parts. Just like with travel, I found that slower and deeper is more meaningful than trying to cover a large area,” Towne said. “As teachers, we often feel pressured to get through a large scope of material. We sometimes lose sight of the importance of thinking deeply. The national board’s process gave me a chance to stop and reflect.”
Washington currently ranks third in the nation for the number of NBCTs. Three cheers for Freeman, Rajczi and Towne as they strive for their credential. Having six of our teachers attaining this certification amounts to almost 15 percent of our teaching staff achieving this distinction!
For more information, visit nbpts.org/mission-history/.