SCHENECTADY, N.Y. December 17, 2012 — The number of New York teachers reaching the profession's "gold standard" — recognition by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards — grew by 156 to 1,458 this year. Leading the way was the Schenectady City School District, which now has more highly accomplished teachers than any school district except New York City.
"To achieve national certification, these teachers demonstrated they are among the very best in a state that can already boast it has the most highly educated, highly experienced and dedicated teachers in the nation," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "These teachers invest in their students, their schools and their community, and research shows their work leads to greater student achievement."
"The Board of Regents has a single goal for our students — preparing all of them for college and meaningful careers," said state Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. "New York already has some of the finest educators in the nation and this new cohort of nationally certified teachers will raise the bar even higher. All of these talented teachers have shown a remarkable commitment to improving their practice and helping their students climb the ladder to college and career readiness."
The state's National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' "Class of 2012" was introduced Monday at a news conference at Schenectady High School. Fourteen Schenectady teachers earned national certification this year, bringing to 56 — of the district's approximately 800 teachers — who have met the rigorous, voluntary standards for national certification. Aside from New York City with 201 nationally certified teachers and Schenectady with 56, other state NBPTS leaders include Arlington, 52; Rochester, 47; Wappinger Falls, 39; and Niskayuna with 38.
"We are very proud of each of the 14 Schenectady teachers who have achieved National Board Certification this year, as well as the 42 who have done so in previous years," said Superintendent Laurence Spring. "I was excited and proud to learn that our district has the second highest number of NBC teachers in the entire state. It speaks greatly to the dedication and commitment of our educators. They deserve the honor and recognition they are receiving here today. Congratulations to each of them."
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said the 156 new National Board-Certified Teachers spent between 200-400 hours of their own time having their classroom skills measured against the highest standards of the teaching profession. To achieve national certification, successful candidates have to demonstrate through teaching portfolios, student work samples and thorough analyses of their teaching and students' learning that they know their subject area and how to teach it, while also demonstrating successful outreach to parents and community.
"As we move towards a statewide system of meaningful evaluations that help improve teacher practice, National Board Certification stands out as a leading professional development tool for teachers. Highly accomplished teachers who take on the challenge of National Board Certification are, in reality, 'owning' their evaluations by engaging in the hard work and self-reflection necessary to grow as a professional," Neira said. "Schenectady's model is an example for every school district in the state: supporting teachers as they challenge themselves, using many different evaluative tools, to improve as professionals so they can, in turn, raise student achievement."
Indeed, Neira said School Report Card data shows that Schenectady, over the last decade, has increased both the number of students graduating and those earning Regents' diplomas, despite widespread challenges. For example, 78 percent of the district's 462 graduates earned Regents' diplomas in 2010-11, compared to just 32 percent of 358 graduates in 2001-02. Meanwhile, 80 percent of Schenectady graduates entered two- or four-year colleges in 2010-11, compared to 74 percent in 2000-01.
Neira, a NBPTS board members, added, "Schenectady is paving the way in showing what good evaluations look like. There's a lot that other districts can learn from the way the school board, superintendent, administrators and teachers work collaboratively in Schenectady to support 'best practice' in the teaching profession."
The full listing of New York's new Nationally Board-Certified Teachers can be found at www.nysut.org. Additional information about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards can be found at www.nbpts.org.
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.