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HCS: State's Highest Percentage of NBCTs

09-March-2015 (HCS) – Hoover City Schools boasts the state’s highest percentage of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). Roughly 15% of Hoover’s 950 teachers have voluntarily sought National Certification, which is administered through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. At 15%, Hoover City Schools’ percentage is five-times the national average of 3% of teachers who seek National-Board Certification.

To laud this achievement, the Hoover Board of Education recognized Hoover’s 149 National Board-Certified Teachers at its March meeting held at Spain Park High School. The recognition was in conjunction with Alabama’s National Board Certified Teacher Week, March 9-13.

National Board Certification represents the pinnacle of professional development for teachers. It’s a months-long, performance-based, peer review process centered on five core propositions:

1) Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
2) Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
3) Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
4) Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
5) Teachers are members of learning communities.

Hoover’s NBCTs are at all levels: elementary, intermediate, middle and high school. Trace Crossings Elementary School teacher Mrs. Tami Puchta achieved National Board Certification in 1999.

“It was one of the best things I have ever done in terms of professional development,” Puchta said. “Throughout that process you are answering, ‘What am I teaching? Why am I teaching it?’ and ‘How is this going to benefit student learning?’ It’s just almost impossible to finish that process and not screen everything that you do in that process through those questions.”

Hoover High School English Department Chair Mr. Chad Cooley reflects on becoming a NBCT – and its value to his teaching.

“It’s one of those things you start off very, very tentative. Once you get about halfway through, you wonder why the heck you did it in the first place! But once you finish it, you are very proud and want to tell everybody that you did it and you’re very proud you finished the process. But it is not something to take lightly,” Cooley said.

Berry Middle School’s Dianna Minor says she encourages colleagues who have not gone through the process to explore the opportunity. Ultimately, she says, students benefit from teachers becoming National Board Certified.

“I think by becoming a NBCT I learned the power and impact of collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders,” Minor said. “As a NBCT I learned to become more reflective in my teaching practices. You want to find the best way to implement a lesson and touch all the students in your classroom. So I’m constantly asking myself is this lesson relevant, rigorous, challenging?”

Mrs. Tammy Dunn, Hoover City Schools' Chief Academic Officer for Mathematics and Science, helped coordinate the district's recognition of NBCTs.

"The National Board process requires teachers to dissect their teaching practice, piece by piece: the goals, the assessments, the instructional activities, the re-teaching and enrichment. Hoover's NBCTs have persevered through this rigorous process and have laid their practice out to be evaluated by their peers. By taking that risk, they are better teachers and our students are the ultimate beneficiaries," Dunn said.

Peggy Brookins serves as Executive Vice President of the National Board, which is based in Arlington, Virginia. She provided a special video message for Hoover’s NBCTs, where she recognized Hoover City Schools exceptionally large percentage of NBCTs – and mentioned the benefits that National Certification brings to the classroom.

“Today we celebrate your achievements as individuals as accomplished teachers whose practice has surpassed the profession’s highest standards,” Brookins said. “Hoover City Schools has historically had a strong candidate support system. You are a model for the nation.”

For more information on becoming National Board Certified, visit the website for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.


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