ALBANY, N.Y. December 15, 2010 - New York State United Teachers today celebrated excellence in teaching, applauding 131 new 'master teachers' in classrooms across the state who attained certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
"In a state widely recognized for the excellence of its teaching force, these 131 teachers truly stand out in the field of education and we are proud to congratulate them, honor them and celebrate their success," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "The elite in a given field are placed on a pedestal for their accomplishments. Society should be doing the same for these teachers, whose abilities, knowledge and dedication make a dramatic difference in the lives of their students."
New York National Board Certified Teachers Class of 2010: PDF | EXCEL
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said the 131 new nationally certified teachers brings to 1,130 statewide the number who have demonstrated through portfolios; videotapes of their teaching; and detailed, reflective writing that they can be considered "master teachers."
"These accomplished teachers have reached the gold standard of their profession. Their work clearly benefits their students and helps spread 'best practice' to classrooms across the state," she said.
Twenty-nine of the state's new nationally certified teachers work in the Greater Capital Region. Neira; Superintendent Kevin Baughman of the Niskayuna Central School District – which had six successful candidates – and Niskayuna Teachers Association President Donna Baumgartner will join teachers representing all of the state's new nationally certified teachers at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the district's offices at the Van Antwerp Middle School, 1239 Van Antwerp Rd.
Neira, a board member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, said as the nation looks for better ways to evaluate teachers and gauge teacher effectiveness, research demonstrates the national certification process "holds great promise as a tool to help deliver more effective teaching and greater student achievement."
"National certification is an authentic model that should be used to measure teaching success," Neira said. "It provides teachers with a rich, rewarding professional development experience by encouraging practitioners to continually learn, reflect on how they teach each day, and grow as professionals."
Neira said national board candidates spend between 200-400 hours of their own time having their teaching measured against high and rigorous standards through an extensive series of performance-based assessments. These assessments include teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes or DVDs and thorough analyses of the candidate's teaching and the students' learning. The process involves written exercises that probe the depth of a candidate's subject matter knowledge, as well as his or her understanding of how to teach those subjects.
Niskayuna is among nearly 200 school districts statewide that offer additional stipends to board-certified teachers. In addition, many districts provide release time for candidates to work towards national certification. NYSUT assists national board candidates by offering awareness programs, support and advice through on-line discussion forums, conferences and professional development through its Education & Learning Trust. The union works with teacher centers to support candidates through the challenging board-certification process.
"School districts which recognize the value of having nationally certified teachers, and which work as partners with teachers and their unions, are reaping the benefits," Neira said. "We are starting to see concentrations of nationally certified teachers in Albany, Schenectady, Niskayuna and other places where teachers, administrators and school leaders are pursuing excellence by working together."
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.