Thursday, July 7, 2011

National Board

Call me crazy....but I am really thinking about going for my National Board Certification this school year. Part of me is a tiny bit leery since we're getting a new reading program and I haven't taught 2nd grade in awhile (and I only taught it once before). I'm not sure if I'll be shooting myself in the foot by trying to tackle this as well.

The Husband thinks I have lost my mind. He is bulking at the $2,500 fee. He thinks it is crazy. I pointed out that it's cheaper than getting a PhD (or a Master's for that matter!). My district reimburses $1,000 of the initial fee and I am sure I can get a grant or some other kind of scholarship to help pay for the rest. Additionally, my district pays out a $5,000 stipend to any teacher who passes the test (even if it isn't on the first round). 

I've been thinking about National Board for a long time actually. Ever since I first heard about it (in 2005 or 2006 I think), I have known it was in my future. Not just because I just want to be fabulous and be able to say I am a National Board teacher....but also because everyone I know who has gone through it says their teaching practice has dramatically changed for the better because they spend so much time reflecting and reviewing their craft to make the most impact on children. That appeals to me.

And honestly....a tiny bit of me wants to show Mrs. Principal that I am not a slacker (yes, I am still harboring a little resentment over my final evaluation -- see, I am still working on the Awakened strategies!). I know that I do as good of a job as I can with my students. I bust my behind and give them everything I can. Even those little friends who make me want to stab myself in the eye in frustration get 100% of what I can give them each and every day that they are in my classroom. 

I have downloaded a lot of things from the National Board website to help me decide if this is something I really want to do right now. At this point, if I do go forward with this, I have until January 31 to pay the full fee and then the portfolio entries are due March 31, 2012. The initial fee is $500 and you get your portfolio box and all of the forms after that so I could begin working on my entries even before I have paid the full balance of the assessment (giving me time to try to get a scholarship or whatnot).

I am looking at two different certificates -- either English as a New Language (Early/Middle Childhood) or Literacy: Reading-Language Arts (Early/Middle Childhood). My undergrad degree is in Language Arts and I am always looking to improve my delivery of reading and writing instruction. Children's needs are so diverse nowadays. My master's is in ESL and that certificate appeals to me as well because I will have a vast majority of ELL students in my classroom as long as I am teaching at Current School.

So right now, I am planning to read through all of the information I downloaded and really decide if I am ready to do this. I think I am. I think this process will really give me the opportunity to strengthen my craft where I want to strengthen it but also provide me with many opportunities to grow professionally. I don't know of a single teacher in my district that has National Board Certification. It doesn't mean there aren't any but I know a LOT of people in the district and I don't know any who have it or have attempted it.

So I shall sit on this a bit....and see what happens. Right now the application is down because they are revamping it. It should be up and running by the 20th or 21st of this month. That gives me some time to really think this through and decide if I am ready to do this.

I also discovered they have something called "Take One" where you do one portfolio entry from whatever certificate area you select so you can see how the scoring process works. If you pass that entry, you can use that score if/when you go for the full certification. That's an option to possibly explore as well because it's MUCH cheaper (less than the initial fee for the full certificate) and at least gives you an idea of what to expect.

I was also very excited to discover that there is a National Board assessment center about 10 minutes from my school. So that makes things very convenient whenever I do go this route, even if it isn't right now.



  1. oooooh good for you. I looked into National Board Certification a few years back, but it was around the same time I started my doctoral program and let's be honest...doing both would be insane. I am really interested in it, but to be honest I don't know a whole lot about it. I will look forward to more posts! One thing I really liked (besides being National Board worthy awesome) was that if you have that certification you can teach in any state and you don't have to get a new license when you relocate. That would be a bonus for this girl because we move a lot..For reason I remember it being a very lengthy process, is that right? Good luck with your decision!


  2. Sounds wonderful! Good luck! I am thinking this is in my future as well.

    Simply 2nd Resources

  3. It says on the site that some people take up to three years to complete the process (ie if you don't pass all areas on the first round). If you are thorough and really pay attention to detail, you can complete it in a year.

    In the 2011-2012 calendar I got from the site, the deadline to apply and pay the full $2500 is January 31, 2012. Deadline to submit portfolio entries is March 31, 2012 and the computerized assessment can be done between January 3 and June 15, 2012. Results come out December 31, 2012.

    What I like is that you can apply and submit the initial fee ($500) and they send you all of the portfolio information and everything then. You can work on your entries while you are securing scholarships or other grant money to help pay the rest of the fee. That appeals to me because I just don't have $2500 sitting around! :)

    I am trying to talk The Husband into letting me at least explore it and I'm doing a lot of reading about it. I think it will be fun, exhausting, informative and WORTH EVERY MINUTE! :)

  4. I have thought about this, too, but then I start to really doubt myself and tell myself that I couldn't do it. I am not very good at tooting my own horn and telling people how great of a teacher I am. I wish I could be, but I'm not, and I actually make myself sick when I have to be evaluated! My hubby laughs at me, and thinks I am crazy, but it's what he signed up for! I have looked into it, but I just need to think about it, even though my hubby has told me for years to do it! Funny boy! Good luck with your adventure! Maybe you will inspire me to do it!

  5. You should hang around me more Kristen! I am EXCELLENT at tooting my own horn :p

    Seriously, my former principal used to tease me relentlessly because I would always praise myself. Once I finally told her that no one else does it, so I have to. She had a good sense of humor fortunately and thought it was funny :)

    I think the reason the evaluation part doesn't bother me that much is because I was a demonstration teacher in my district for two years -- I had to let MANY people (some I had never met!) come into my classroom and watch me teaching. It was a bit weird at first but I really learned to take their ideas and suggestions and incorporate them and I always got amazing feedback that I was so reflective and willing to make changes.

  6. You should go for it! I decided to try as soon as I qualified with encouragement from an aunt and my principal. What a vpchallenge it ended up being the first try! My high school biology teacher facilitated the support group I joined through our licensing board and I was the only elementary teacher in the group. It ended up being the WRONG year to choose to try as one grade level team member had to be out the entire 1st semester for a family emergency and the other went on maternity leave the 3rd quarter when I was rushing to get everything in before the deadline. I missed by a small number of points, so I decided to retake just 3 entries. The facilitators for the group said I should only do 2, but I wanted cushion! I heard most people don't pass on the first try, but I think I learned more a out myself as a teacher the second time. I was able to spend more time on my entries because of my amazing student teachers!

    I hope you decide to do it and blog about it! I'm anxiously awaiting the results and hoping I pass this time so I don't have to retake again with a new set of students, standards, and grade level! They say results are in Dec, but the usually come out in mid-November. Your union or licensing board might be able to give you more info about scholarships and grants. My licensing board pays a set amount for submitting the portfolio, then pays you the "rest" of the fees when you pass. Then we get the $5,000 bonus each year and supposedly another $5,000 if the school you teach at is in restructuring.

  7. OMG...I have been on hold with the DOE for the past 33 minutes and blog-surfing to pass the time. The reason I'm calling them is to get info on the National Boards as a certification option for my state. Your post couldn't have been more timely.

    Keep posting about it. I'm interested in hearing more.

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  8. At this point....I'm definitely thinking 'yes'. I spent a good couple of hours today downloading and printing the manuals and whatnot for the certification I am interested in. I also have an email in to the person in charge of this in my district (because I have to volunteer in writing for them to pay for any of it).

    So...we'll see what happens. :) I will for SURE blog about it as I go through the process. Be it now...or later if I decide to wait.

  9. Jodi, check out this link as it has information for each state :)

    And I gotta say, I am now quite glad that I work in my district because they are one of the few in my area that offer any incentive to have it!

  10. Well as one who is into the second year I would suggest doing Take One first and making sure of the certification you want to work through. I was teaching 3rd when I did first year. Missed it by just a bit on two portfolio. Yes learned alot but my responsibility to my students did not match with national boards. This last year I was planning on working on the two entries I needed to improve on but then my dad died and I couldn't make sentences much less write entries.This year my state has taken away scholarships and stipends. I'll be working on my masters. Do Take One

  11. I have looked into it as well. I'm just about to finish my masters and would love to continue to push myself. I have gone back and forth but haven't decided yet.

  12. I am sitting and waiting on my NB scores right now. I'll be honest, it is A LOT of work. Many areas offer cohorts to help you through the process. I highly recommend teaming up with a cohort or a NBCT while you work. Their insight can be incredibly helpful. In West Virginia, we are lucky to have all fees reimbursed and on completion receive a $5,500 bonus each year for 10 years. It's quite an incentive, yet only about 3% of teachers have it. Don't be intimidated by the work - just GO FOR IT!

    1. Done...I'm waiting on scores too :)