While Bellevue students are hard at work cranking out homework and studying for exams, a large number of Bellevue teachers are in the same boat.
The Bellevue School District ranks first in the state for the number of National Board Certified teachers (NBCT), a distinguished award recognizing excellence in teaching and the advancement of education.
A total of 83 Bellevue teachers earned board certification in 2008. Overall, there are 208 board certified teachers in the district. Currently 90 Bellevue teachers are candidates, working towards the National Boards for 2009.
To achieve National Board certification, teachers must demonstrate they are able to modify their instruction to meet the specific needs of students and demonstrate their content expertise in the areas they teach. The process is rigorous and challenging, requiring participants to submit an extensive portfolio showcasing their teaching ability, understanding, and skill level in both essay and video form.
Additionally, candidates must pass a full-day national exam on the content they teach to prove academic proficiency and qualification.
To date, 5.3 percent of teachers in Washington state are board certified. In Bellevue, nearly 20 percent of the teaching force are now Board Certified, leading the Seattle School District by 26 certifications.
“The National Boards process has made me reflective of the effectiveness of my teaching and keenly aware of the learning of each of my students,” said Kristi Stroyan, a teacher at Medina Elementary who earned an Early Childhood Generalist National Board Certification.
Bellevue teachers receive support for their efforts to become certified from the Bellevue Schools Foundation and the district which together cover 100 percent of the of fees, facilitators, and a program coordinator. The district covers the cost of hiring a videographer to assist with the candidates video entries.
“The support given by the Foundation and district is unmatched and without it, it’s likely many teachers wouldn’t be able to financially afford to undergo the application process,” explained Bellevue National Board Program Coordinator Melissa Slater, who received her Middle Childhood Generalist Board Certification in 2002 while teaching at Somerset Elementary.
The fees amount to nearly $3,000 per teacher.
Legislation passed in 2007 awards a $5,000 bonus to each certified teacher.
Every September, the BSF hires 8 to 10 certified teachers to join the district and help mentor teachers going through the process. The certified teachers are available to answer questions, meet during non-work hours, review essay entries and help guide the candidates through the challenging process.
Teachers earning National Certification report spending between 200 to 400 hours in professional development and reflection through this process. The National Board certification process is similar to the expectations of an earned Master’s Degree, however, candidates have only one year to gather and document evidence for their portfolios.
According to Slater, the candidacy process helps teachers to become more intentional about their teaching style.
“As a teacher, you learn to concentrate on teaching in an individualized manner, focusing on each individual students needs and the class as a whole,” she explained. “The process trains you to be reflective and thoughtful about how you teach and you learn to constantly evaluate yourself and your students. You begin to examine the value in everything you teach and asking yourself how the lesson will better prepare the students for further learning.”
In order to continue with financial support for the NBCT, the Bellevue School’s Foundation needs the continued support of the community to better the teachers, the schools, and the students who will become the future leaders of the community.
“The Foundation is able to cover the steep costs because of the generous donations from community leaders, businesses, parents and concerned citizens. Without the communities support, our teachers wouldn’t have this opportunity to better themselves and the students they teach,” Slater confirmed.
Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.
For more information on the Bellevue School’s Foundation visit www.bsfdn.org, 425.456.4199.
New certified teachers in 2008
83 Bellevue teachers receive National Board Certification in 2008:
Gaines, Sherry – Ardmore
Vale, Ginny – Ardmore
Chapman, Monica – Bellevue High
Golding, Byrona – Bellevue High
Hallberg, Charise – Bellevue High
Madsen, Nicole – Bellevue High
VanDyke, Patrick – Bellevue High
Johnson, Sarah – Bennett
Heinemann, Brett – Cherry Crest
Nordstrom, Mary – Cherry Crest
Oleson, Gail – Cherry Crest
Tamayo, Mercy – Cherry Crest
Jordan, Kerry – Chinook
Michelet, Lisa – Chinook
Saxon, Ingrid – Chinook
Staggs, Erin Howell – Chinook
Clark, Holly – Eastgate
Clayton, Kindra – Enatai
Wyckoff, Lissa – Enatai
Clarke, Sara – Highland
Davies, Monica – Highland
Maki, Mai – Highland
Mordaunt, Michelle – Highland
Alvarez, Lindzee – Interlake High
Collomb, Sandrine – Interlake High
Foster, Nancy – International
Truax, Tamara – International
Baileykaze, Ric – Lake Hills
McLane, Kristine – Lake Hills
Otteson, Danielle – Lake Hills
Stevens, Jennifer – Lake Hills
Vrbka, Jean – Lake Hills
Bethel, Erin G. – Medina
Brown, Lindsey – Medina
Nowak, Rebecca – Medina
Stroyan, Kristi Bryson – Medina
Benda, Jason – Newport High
Borth, Jerry – Newport High
Driscoll, Kimberly – Newport High
Eisenhauer, Matt – Newport High
Falkenhagen, Lisa – Newport High
George, Edd – Newport High
Gonsiorowski, Jennifer – Newport High
Heffter, Nate – Newport High
Nara, Scott – Newport High
Nehring, Sarah – Newport High
Nonis, Jake – Newport High
Prufer, Rob – Newport High
Tate, Helene – Newport High
Upham, Elsa – Newport High
Hallock, Maureen – Newport Heights
Marion, Christine – Newport Heights
Lambert, Sarah – Phantom Lake
Tuupo, Leann – Phantom Lake
Brewer, Stacy – Puesta del Sol
McCleary, Rocio – Puesta del Sol
Anstett, Kristin – Robinswood
Schoeneman, Nicole – Robinswood
Bright, Jeff – Sammamish High
Burress, Don – Sammamish High
Danielson, Tom – Sammamish High
Hanify, TJ – Sammamish High
Mapes, Amy – Sammamish High
Drennan, Jessica – Sherwood Forest
Kline, Lyndsy – Sherwood Forest
Muchlinski, Julie – Sherwood Forest
Sun, Jennifer – Sherwood Forest
Dhatt, Kelli – Somerset
McCaskey, Lisa – Somerset
Frank, Pam – Stevenson
Duerr, Rob – Stevenson
Heady, Tessa – Stevenson
Shimizu, Nicole – Stevenson
Dumas Meyering, Julia – Tillicum
Goldman, Jennifer – Tillicum
Boettcher, Mary – Tyee
Da, Laura – Tyee
Abbott, Dawn (Armitage) – Woodridge
Ellis, Mackenzie – Woodridge