Thanks to an initiative and funding from Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona State Legislature, 410 teacher candidates from across Arizona are beginning journeys toward National Board Certification.
These teacher candidates are embarking on improving and demonstrating the quality of their teaching through the rigorous National Board Certification program.
These 410 teacher candidates completed the pre-candidacy course to learn about the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and have decided to commit the time and energy to improving and demonstrating the quality of their teaching through this rigorous program.
Research shows that students of NBCTs have improved learning outcomes.
This year, Gov. Ducey and the Arizona State Legislature initiated the new Arizona Teachers Academy program, allocating funds with the Arizona Board of Regents to cover the cost of the four components of the National Board Certification process and related professional learning for 200 Arizona teachers.
Northern Arizona University’s Arizona K12 Center coordinates the National Board Certification program in Arizona, supporting candidates throughout the process, and is providing funding for other additional candidates.
This year’s new teacher candidates are from school districts from across Arizona and representing both large, urban and small, rural districts, including the state’s largest school district.
About half of this year’s candidates work in Title I schools.
Most of this year’s new candidates gathered Saturday, Nov. 16, for National Board New Candidate Kickoff in Phoenix.
This event provided new candidates with specific guidance for how to prepare, document, and submit for the three portfolio components and how to prepare for the computer-based assessment of National Board Certification.
More information about National Board Certification and the process to achieve is available at https://www.nbpts.org/national-board-certification/
Kickoff also included addresses from Arizona K12 Center Executive Director Dr. Kathy Wiebke, Arizona’s first National Board Certified Teacher; Northern Arizona University President Dr. Rita Cheng; National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Vice President of Communications, Mobilization, and Partnerships Ruthanne Buck; and Balsz School District Director of Teaching and Learning Daniela Robles, NBCT.
President Cheng noted in her address that, along with candidates continuing the process from past years and those awaiting feedback on their submissions, there are 800 National Board candidates in Arizona.
“If these 800 teachers teach an average of 30 students, and I know that number is significantly larger for many of you, more than 24,000 Arizona children will be positively impacted by the choices that you are making today,” Cheng said. “Imagine the impact this pursuit of teaching excellence will have over an entire career.”
Wiebke shared with the 400 candidates at Kickoff Saturday about why she had chosen to improve her practice through the National Board and her experiences through the process.
“I was informed on December 2, 1996 that I was Arizona’s first National Board Certified Teacher,” she said. “I was stunned. But through the experience I realized how much I had changed, how much I had grown as a professional. I recommitted myself to this profession and never looked back.”
“Since that day, I have been relentless in my support of teachers, whether as a mentor to the newest members of our profession, or as an advocate for experienced educators who want to advance their practice by pursuing National Board Certification,” Wiebke said. “In my heart, I know that when I support teachers, I am really supporting the children they serve.”
The Arizona K12 Center supports candidates for Board-certification by pairing them with trained NBCTs in their district or region and providing coaching to improve candidates’ understanding of the National Board Standards and what is needed to reach them; and being a resource for candidate questions and guidance.
Learn more about the Arizona K12 Center at azk12.org and about National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards at nbpts.org.