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Monday, July 10, 2017

NB Academy Day One Positivity

Participation in the MTA/NEA/CTQ Teacher Leadership Initiative and national certification as a Middle Child Generalist educator via the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) led to an invitation by the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and NEA to attend the NB (National Board) Academy in Las Vegas this week to look for ways to jump start National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification for Massachusetts educators. Tonight was the first night of the Academy and my initial reaction is WOW! It was invigorating to hear the stories of so many dedicated educational leaders from throughout the United States who are using many creative and successful ways to strategically support educator development via NBPTS to elevate what we can do to serve students and their families well.

Numbers of nationally certified educators differ from state to state as noted on this map. Specifically in Massachusetts there are 641 educators who are currently nationally certified. While this is more than in some states, it is far less than in other states. For example, Massachusetts has a population of approximately 7,000,000 people and Washington also has a population of approximately 7,000,000 yet Washington has 8,956 nationally certified educators--that's about 8,300 more nationally certified teachers than in Massachusetts. North Carolina, with a population of 10,000,000, has 20,873 nationally certified educators.
  • Why is there such a discrepancy in states with similar populations?
  • Does this discrepancy matter? 
  • Is national certification advantageous for schools, students, and states?
National certification is a valuable way for educators to develop their practice and work with like-minded, dedicated educators. National certification provides educators with the opportunity to deeply reflect on their practice and set individual and collective goals for development. Educators with national certification have the opportunity to teach in multiple states since national certification is one way to receive certification in many states across the nation. National certification provides multiple opportunities for certified educators to learn and lead in the education profession. The Massachusetts Teachers Association with support of the National Education Association is working to find ways to boost national certification in Massachusetts as one way to build greater teacher leadership.

Many states and districts across the nation recognize national certification with stipends and salary increases. They also support certification by creating networks of trainers and other support personnel that guide national certification candidates. These networks help to build strong statewide collegial cohorts of shared practice and co-development of ideas and strategies to serve students well. 

As I listened to educators from across the United States speak of their efforts to support the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NPBTS), I was inspired by the creativity and teacher-centered efforts explained including networks of teachers supporting teachers with strategic, systematic efforts. There were reports of increased salaries and stipends for those who earned national certification as well as those who served as mentors and guides. There was a sense of pride and community expressed as educators discussed NBPTS efforts, collegiality, and development, efforts that led to other leadership participation and effort with promising programs such as the Teacher Leadership Initiative, Massachusett's Next Generation Leadership, Teach-to-Lead, ASCD and Teach Plus. I listened to a number of retired educators explain how they continue to provide professional development support related to NBPTS, and heard about efforts of public-private partnerships that support NBCT work. NBCT efforts outlined included many hybrid programs that combine face-to-face and online learning and support used by state departments of education to take the place of or work in coordination with current teacher development and certification programs and requirements. 

In summary, the first day demonstrated to me once again that there are many dedicated educators throughout our nation working to uplift the profession in ways that matter. The evening's events also presented me with the positive challenge of spending the next three days and beyond digging deeply into the standards' effects and potential as I prepare to participate in the MTA's efforts to support more nationally certified teachers in Massachusetts--an effort that will work to further develop greater teacher leadership in schools, systems, and communities.

Specifically, during the three days, I'd like to focus on the following details:
  • Presentation and training that inspires and deeply supports NBCT candidates
  • Rationale expressed for obtaining national certification
  • Ways that current NBCTs are elevating and developing the teaching profession
  • What public/private resources are supporting NBPTS and how can educators, districts, systems and states access that support?
The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards is a process, community, and professional practice standard that has been taking shape over many years. I am proud that I earned my NBPTS certification and look forward to learning more about the opportunities to broaden NBCT efforts in the days ahead in Massachusetts.