Jan. 4, 2011 –
Seven more Montana teachers – all MEA-MFT members — recently joined the ranks of the nation’s top certified teachers. They are:
• Kate Cordes, English Language Arts, Billings
• Sara Childers, Library Media, Columbia Falls
• Charles McCurdy, Career and Technical, Anaconda
• Larry McMullen, Science, Billings
• Margaret Aukshun, Math, Billings
• Rodney Gottula, English/Language Arts, Billings
• Peggy Kimmet, Library Media, Hardin
These seven teachers are part of the 2010 class of National Board Certified teachers. The certification is earned through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization that sets and maintains national standards for teaching excellence.
The National Board announced the latest National Board Certified teachers in December.
According to MEA-MFT’s Montana Professional Teaching Foundation (MPTF), which administers the program in Montana, Montana now has 92 National Board Certified Teachers.
“These educators are excellent representatives of teachers across Montana who work every day to give Montana students the absolute best education possible,” said MPTF Chair Eric Feaver.
While state licensing systems set basic requirements to teach in each state, the National Board Certification process gives teachers a chance to demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices.
Achieving National Board Certification (NBC) is not an easy feat. The NBC candidates spend nine months of their lives subjecting their professional practice to rigorous review and criticism.
First, candidates must complete four portfolio entries documenting their teaching performance. Two of these portfolios must include videotaped evidence of quality instruction. Most candidates spend from 120 to 200 hours preparing these portfolios for professional evaluation.
Completing the portfolios takes most candidates well over six months of planning and preparation.
Once the portfolios are submitted, candidates must sit for a written performance assessment. These are not just simple objective tests of knowledge; they are challenging, comprehensive assessments designed to measure a teacher’s ability to convey knowledge effectively.
Candidates do not learn the results of their endeavors for nearly four months after they complete all this work.
“Simply by completing this process, candidates have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to quality teaching,” Feaver said. “They have gone above and beyond to improve themselves and their classrooms.”
Feaver added that students across the state benefit when any Montana teacher achieves National Board Certification. “These teachers are change agents,” he said. “Many of them take on leadership roles, leading school reform efforts in their districts and across Montana.”
Recognizing the effectiveness of National Board Certified teachers, the State of Montana provides a one-time, $3000 state stipend to teachers who attain National Board Certification. In addition, many local school districts honor candidates with a stipend.
MEA-MFT is working to increase that stipend during the 2011 Montana Legislature.