By Natasha Ashby
On Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011, three SLA teachers were certified by the National Board: Science Teachers Stephanie Dunda and Tim Best, and English Teacher Meenoo Rami.
National Board Certification strengthens a teachers’ teaching credential. It is valid for 10 years. To achieve the National Board Certification title, one must complete an assessment program that is designed to acknowledge successful teachers who excel in the classroom.
As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their specific areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries which consist of examples of teaching practices and six response exercises that assess content knowledge.
” I am hoping that this achievement will allow me to have a voice in the national dialogue around education.” said Rami.
“There are many discussions currently taking place around role of schools and teachers in our society, I hope to be part of these discussions as a National Board Certified Teacher.”
Dunda had four portfolios to complete for the Adult Young Adult Science area in topics like whole class instruction and classroom inquiry.
“The process itself is really educational, as you take a good look at your teaching,” said Mr. Best. “I figured it would make me a better teacher.”
“Also, it allows you to teach in any state, which is great if I move somewhere in the future. The school district of Philadelphia has a good stipend for national board certified teachers, too.”
” I decided to apply because I was looking to challenge myself as a teacher,” said Rami. “I wanted to reflect on my practice and see how my efforts to meet my students’ needs would measure up against the National Boards standards. “.
The process towards applying takes a lot of commitment considering how much work needs to be put in before submitting a well thought out finished piece.
“ I had to complete 4 entries starting in September and ending the process in March”, said Rami. “Each entry related to an aspect of my teaching such as how I led whole and small group discussions, how I helped my students become better readers and writers and finally reflection on my role as learner and a leader.”
“The process was lengthy, but I didn’t really start until December,” said Dunda. “I made a big wall in my bedroom from paper. The wall had on it all the standards and then all of the portfolios and what they expected. I added a hundred sticky notes to it as I brainstormed all of the ideas and all of the students I thought about when I reflected on my teaching”
The three teachers join three who have already achieved National Board Certification in previous years: English and History Teacher Josh Block, History Teacher Diana Laufenberg, and Spanish Teacher Melanie Manuel.
“ I’m actually extremely proud of my teachers to be able to teach anywhere they like in the U.S,” said Junior Imani Johnson.
“It’s amazing to know that I’ve been taught by such amazing teachers and that their greatness is seriously official and recognized.”