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Kudos from CTU to all the educators who took the rigorous two-year National Board Certification (NBC) journey earning their credential this past school year.

  

This school year, 58 educators received positive results from the challenging journey to achieve National Board Certification (NBC) and another 82 renewed their NBC certification, prompting the CPS Board to pass a resolution commending the educators for their “commitment to high and rigorous teaching standards.”

The NBCTs (National Board Certified Teachers) are at many different points in their careers, ranging from teachers, counselors, and librarians — who are starting their fourth year of teaching — to veteran teachers in their 25th year or more. This year’s NBCTs hail from every CPS network and 66 percent of schools now have NBCTs on staff. 

The newest NBCT class is comprised of 54 percent elementary teachers and counselors, 46 percent high school teachers and 18.5 percent STEM teachers. Teachers of color made up 29.7 percent of this year’s NBCT cohort, proudly bringing our pool of NBCTs of color to more than 36 percent district wide. 

The Quest Center’s Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL) program, the FREE CTU/CPS NBC professional development and candidate support program, nurtures NBC candidates throughout the process. 

Through NTL, National Board candidates engage in stimulating, rewarding professional development weekly with other educators striving for certification. They work collaboratively in certificate-alike groups to meet the rigorous standards of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

On this two-year journey, candidates identify and describe in depth what they know about students as individuals and identify and analyze the impact they, as teachers, librarians or counselors, have on all students as learners.

The CTU Quest Center directs and manages all NBC initiatives and processes and provides all professional development and candidate support for CPS teachers, counselors and librarians  in their pursuit of National Board Certification, the highest credential a teacher can achieve. Nurturing Teacher Leadership is proud to boast a 94 percent NBC achievement rate, compared to the national average which hovers around 70 percent.

Transformative PD

NTL NBC candidates say it is the most valuable and transformative professional development they have ever received — no other professional activity has taught them as much about their practice and its impact on students. That’s because the process is grounded in one’s teaching practice, is job-embedded, and translates into improved student learning. 

Renewing NBC teacher Shirley Roberson recalled that when she received her certification in 2010, she was one of five NBC teachers at Carnegie Elementary. 

“Having a cohort of National Board Certified Teachers at the school was instrumental in taking the school from receiving ‘intensive support’ from the district to one that was in ‘good standing,’” she told CPS Board members in May. Roberson was one of the 83 educators to renew their certification this year.

New NBC Hillary Munoz, a bilingual special ed teacher, echoed those sentiments when she spoke before the CPS Board. 

Far reaching effects

“Suffice to say, the impact of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher has had far-reaching effects on my professional practice,” she said. “I began to ask myself WHY and HOW for almost every decision I make in my classroom. Being cognizant of my decision-making process and anchoring my choices in sound research and evidence has become as natural to me as breathing.” 

Ninth grade math teacher and debate coach Connor Cameron reflected on what the National Board process has meant to him, his students and his school.

 “I am a better teacher because of the National Board process and my students benefit from that every day because they have a teacher who knows them better, who can facilitate better mathematical discussions in which they participate, and has more and better strategies to engage them in meaningful mathematics,” he said. 

A decade of research

A decade of research backs up CTU members’ assessment of the value of NBC on student improvement, showing that Board-certified teachers make a significant and measurable impact in their schools:

 

  • Students learn more. Students of National Board Certified Teachers learn more than their peers without Board-certified teachers. Studies also have found the positive impact of a Board-certified teacher is even greater for minority and low-income students.

 

  • Teachers improve their practice. National Board Certification enables teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom and demonstrate their dedication to their students and their profession.

 

  • Teachers demonstrate a commitment to excellence. Schools with NBC teachers are characterized by better teacher morale and retention and increased community involvement.

 

Achieving NBC status also provides increased opportunities for teacher leadership in Chicago, such as mentoring, and Consulting Teacher roles, among others. And CPS NBC teachers receive a yearly pensionable stipend which will be $2,295 by the end of our current contract.

Additional NBCT benefits

Further benefits of becoming an NBCT include advancement on the salary scale, fulfilling all ISBE re-licensure PD hour requirements, and optional Master’s Degree and/or graduate and CPS Lane Placement salary credits. Plus, full scholarships are awarded to all NTL candidates to cover all NBC fees. 

This year’s new NBC Teachers are: Jasmine Anderson-Cruthird, Bethany Baltutat, Amy Betts, Conor Cameron, Leah Carter, Felicia Cavitt, Kevin Connolly, Mark Coogan, Sarah Coogan, Joy Dickson, Alison Eichhorn, Stephanie Faris, Donna Figenshu, Jacqueline Gaiser, Joshua Gleicher, Henry Gomez, Sarah Greer, Brandon Harding, Emily Hoelter, Tracy Hoffmann, Katherine Kerivan, Rebecca Leng, Thomas Leng, Lauren Levites, Katherine Liao, Elisa Lopez, Arlicia McClain, Elliot Michel, Kelsie Mizel, Amy Mollenkamp, Enid Moore, Deirdre Morelli, Hillary Munoz, Timothy Nystrand, Marley Olivera, Nicole Pertile, Devan Picard, Margaret Pircon, Vivian Redwood, Cintia Rodriguez, Rebecca Rogers, Jessica Rosenbaum, Jamie Rossi, Marisol Salgado, Mashanda Scott, Nell Seggerson, Rose Semmel, Derek Smith, Keirstyn Stewart, Esther Taylor, Robin Thompson, Jacqueline Travis, Erica Tully, Ryan VanOverbeke, Esther Velazquez, Allison Warner, Aaron Weiss, Amy Wiktor.

This year’s renewing NBC Teachers are: Cynthia Alexander, Sydney Allen, Fabienne Anderson-Johnson, Kirsten Argyelan, Deborah Banks, Peter Barash, Stacy Barrett, Jennifer Barron, Arlene Bertoni-Mancine, Vivian Billups, Dagny Bloland, Susan Bohman, Cynthia Brawner, Christopher Bruggeman, Marcie Buckmaster, Gloria Cahill, Siobhan Cassidy, Jessica Coonley, Maria De Arcos, Catherine Ditto, Manuela Diyarza, Cynthia Domine, Ryan Dooley, Heather Duncan, Susan Echeverria, Amy Ellifritz, Marisa Fontana, Kavita Garg, Theresa Hehn, Casey Honeycutt, Beth Houghtby, Patrice Izard, Marianna Jennings, Shalynn Jennings-Mihuc, Cynthia Juarez, Dennis Kass, Debra Kearney, Anna Kolanczyk-Olech, Dekey Lama, Kevin Lee, Kathleen Mahoney, Sara Manseau, Colin McGeehan, Maria Miranda, Andrea Montgomery, Michael Moriarty, Rory Muchow, Shemeka Nash, Karen Neary, Christiana Newbill, Barbara Newton, Franci Nimpson-Boateng, Justin Nowak, Christina O’Leary, Jennifer Pestich, Melissa Potts, Leah Radinsky, Nathan Ramin, Eliza Ramirez, Cheryl Reynolds-Fefles, Misty Richmond, Shirley Roberson, Jennifer Rocque, Lauren Rodriguez, Ja’Nean Rogers-Gayles, Mark Sidarous, Jessica Siegel, Sara Simon, James Staros, Madilyn Strentz, Eu Tang, Margaret Taylor, Fontane Thomas, Monique Thorpe, Mary Tripp, Claudia Vailant, Allison Vogt, Kimberly Walls-Kirk, Jennifer Watson, Danielle Williams, Demetrice Williams, Sara Zoldan.

Congratulations to them all!

For more information about the two-year process and eligibility for certification, contact Lynn Cherkasky-Davis@ctuf.org or visit CTUF.org/NTL.

Lynn Cherkasky-Davis is Director of Teacher Leadership and Special Projects and CTU/CPS National Board Certification Program Manager.