Teachers earn national board certification

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2000

Two Natchez teachers have joined an elite group of 389 Mississippi teachers who earned their National Board Certification for the 1999-00 school year. Tanna Davis, a teacher at McLaurin Elementary, and Barbara Frye, a teacher at the Central Alternative School, are the first two teachers in the Natchez-Adams School District to complete the performance-based assessment program.

&uot;It was a challenge and the district was very supportive in urging us to try,&uot; said Frye, who focused her certification on career education and technology. The program is &uot;a way to assess where you are in your career and where you need to improve and examine your teaching methodology.&uot;

The voluntary program takes at least a year to complete and is designed to help teachers improve their teaching skills. It requires teachers to create a six-part portfolio on their subject area. It also assesses how well teachers teach their subjects and how they manage and measure student learning. Teachers also must take a four-part test.

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Earning National Board&160;Certification &uot;is the ultimate validation that what you are doing is right,&uot;&160;said Davis, who certified in early adolescent English language arts ages 11-15. &uot;Very few people pass this the first time. We are so lucky, and we know that we are.&uot;

Frye described the certification as a professional milestone.

&uot;It’s just given me a real boost in morale, kind of a whole new outlook,&uot; she said.

More than 9,000 teachers nationwide have earned their National Board Certification, with the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards awarding 4,694 of those during 1999-00.

In Mississippi, 389 teachers completed the program this year, ranking it fourth in the nation for that time period and bringing its total to 743 certified teachers since the program began several years ago.

North Carolina ranked first this year with 1,115, Florida ranked second with 699 and California ranked third with 440.

In Mississippi teachers who earn their National Board Certification will received an extra $6,000 a year for a 10-year period.

&uot;I hate to say the $6,000 is what motivated (me, but) that definitely caught my attention,&uot;&160;Davis said.

But as she worked on the project, Davis said she found her focus changing.

&uot;The money is still in the back of your mind but it’s not what’s most important,&uot; Davis said.

And both teachers said without the help of their family, their friends, a teacher mentor and their students it would have not been possible.

&uot;You have to have other people helping you and without that I couldn’t have done it,&uot; Davis said.

Other teachers in the Natchez-Adams School District are making plans to work toward their certification next year.