March 2018 (updated)
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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was proposed in 1985 by Al Shanker, legendary union leader, as a voluntary national certification body for teachers, by teachers, akin to board certification for physicians. The Carnegie Foundation established and funded NBPTS in 1987 to begin research and development on just how to certify teachers; it started the actual certification process in 1994.
The Board was created as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental body with a majority of teacher members. The mission of the National Board is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching and leading, and engaging National Board certified teachers and leaders in that process.
National Board Certification (NBC) was developed for teachers, by teachers, as a voluntary advanced teaching credential representing professional acknowledgement of accomplished teaching practice in 25 certificate areas. For each subject area, National Board Standards and performance-based assessments are developed by outstanding educators in that field who draw upon their expertise, research on best practices, and feedback from their professional peers and the education community.
Candidates can choose from twenty-five areas defined by subject and students’ developmental level (pre-K thru Grade 12 - see page 7). Each certificate is organized around the National Board’s Teaching Standards and the Five Core Propositions. These form the foundation and frame the rich amalgam of knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs that characterize National Board Certified Teachers across all certification areas.
Proposition 1: Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
Proposition 2: Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
Proposition 3: Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
Proposition 4: Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
Proposition 5: Teachers are members of learning communities.
NBPTS eligibility requires candidates to:
1) possess a bachelor’s degree, and
2) have completed three full years of teaching or school counseling, and
3) possess a valid state teaching or school counselor license.
National Board Certification in New York State
Since 1995, 1,912 teachers in NYS state have achieved National Board Certification. Nationally, more than 118,000 teachers have achieved National Board Certification representing 3 percent of the national teaching population.
Pursuing National Board Certification
National Board Certification is a highly respected professional voluntary credential and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students and schools. It was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools. The National Board standards can serve as a significant component of professional development, supporting improvements in teaching and learning and enhancing teacher effectiveness.
It allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom, and demonstrate dedication to their students and their profession. The National Board Certification process is aligned with NYS Teaching Standards and fulfills the 100 hours of required Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) for professionally certified teachers (provided that the CTLE certificate holder must continue to meet the applicable required CTLE requirements in language acquisition http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/ctle.html).
Pursuing Board certification affords teachers the opportunity to become part of a larger network of accomplished teachers shaping the profession. During the process, candidates reflect on best practices in their content area, with their students and find immediate classroom applications of their learning.
Many districts and teachers unions in NYS have collectively bargained financial incentives, including salary steps, for educators who achieve Board certification. Members can also earn SUNY Empire graduate credits (3 graduate credits per component @ $300; earn up to 12 grad credits for all 4 components) through NYSUT’s ELT program. (see list of districts that self-report National Board contract language on p. 6). School and district administrators and union leaders often look for NBCTs when interviewing teacher candidates and setting criteria for educators to serve as teacher leaders in their schools.
National Board Certification Process
In all certificate areas, candidates for National Board Certification are required to complete four components: three portfolio entries (submitted online) and one computer-based assessment (administered at a local testing center). Components can be completed in a year or within three years.
An annual registration fee of $75 must be paid online. There are scoring rubrics for each component and each certificate area. Score results are reported annually by December 31. Score reports are sent privately to the candidate for each component as well as information to assist candidates in making decisions on whether or not to retake. After complete submission of all components candidates have two additional years in which to retake portions of component 1 or other components in their entirety. Retake fees range from $125 to $475. *Candidates have up to two (2) retake attempts for each component, and retake years do not have to be concurrent or consecutive. The reliability of the score is maintained by standardized scoring protocols with trained and experienced content experts and NBCTs.
NYS Funding Sources and Resources to Assist Candidates
- Albert Shanker Grant
With NYSUT’s strong support, the Legislature and Governor enacted Part 86 Section 3004-2 of Education Law, establishing the NYS Albert Shanker Grant Program to support candidate fees and supportive activities at $2,500.00 per grant award. Funding for the Shanker Grant is limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. More information and applications for the Shanker Grant http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/ashanker/albertshanker.html
To be eligible for the NYSED Albert Shanker Grant, candidates MUST:
- be employed as a full-time teacher in a NYS public school;
- hold a valid New York State teaching certificate;
- hold tenure in his/her current position;
- commit to and actually complete the NBPTS components;
- commit to teaching in a New York public school for at least one (1) full school year following completion of Shanker Grant;
- apply for NBPTS certification, pay for the first component and annual registration fee;
- apply for the Albert Shanker Grant.
- Public school teachers not holding tenure and teachers in non-public schools (including charter schools that do not have an LEA public school district) are not eligible for the Shanker Grant.
- Shanker Grant recipients must agree to remain employed in a NYS public school district for at least one year after receiving National Board Certification.
- School District Reimbursement for Support Services
Each eligible teacher’s sponsoring school district shall be eligible to receive a direct reimbursement from the department in an amount up to $500 to cover the cost of supportive services, which may include the cost of hiring a substitute teacher for up to three days or the duration of such eligible teacher’s approval leave, whichever is less. To qualify for such a reimbursement, a sponsoring school district must submit a form. The form and link will be posted on March 1, 2018 on a secure portal. The reimbursement submission period will be from April 1 - June 30, 2018.
- National Board Council of New York
The National Board Council of New York is an affiliated network of NBPTS. Its mission is to provide awareness and establish support structures for teachers and school districts to pursue the National Board Certification process. http://www.nbcny.org/
- NYSUT’s Education and Learning Trust
The Education and Learning Trust (ELT) offers SUNY Empire State College graduate credit for each component (3 graduate credits @ $300 per component; earn up to 12 graduate credits to complete the NB process), as well as numerous workshops and courses to support candidates in the National Board process. http://www.nysut.org/resources/special-resources-sites/education-learning-trust
- NYS Teacher Centers
NYS Teacher Centers are annually funded regional or district based professional development providers. Many Teacher Centers provide National Board Support Groups, Candidate Support Providers Training and Summer Institute. Research indicates higher rates of certification for teachers pursuing National Board Certification in cohorts with supportive colleagues. http://www.nysteachercenters.org/ Candidates should contact their local regional NYS Teacher Center for resources to support NBCTs.
Certificate Renewal/Maintenance of Certification
As of 2017, NBCTs who wish to renew must complete a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) prior to the expiration date of the certificate at five (5) year intervals and can only renew certification in the original certificate area. Work on the MOC may begin as early as year 2 of the current certification period. Prior to 2016 National Board Certification was issued for a period of ten years and is renewable through the National Board Profile of Professional Growth process. That fee is $1,250.00 and the Profile of Professional Growth process is open only to ten (10) year certificate holders. As of 2017 NBCT’s who wish to renew must complete a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) prior to the expiration date of the certificate at five (5) year intervals and can only renew certification in the original certificate area. Work on the Maintenance of Certification may begin as early as year 2 of the current certification period. Beginning in 2021, all NBCT’s will also transfer to the MOC process as their certificates expire. The MOC fee is $475.00. See www.boardcertifiedteachers.org/maintenanceof-certification.
The Maintenance of Certification is evaluated by two independent NBCTs who holistically evaluate the component and reflection as a single entity. Based on the entire body of evidence submitted, the evaluating NBCTs render a single decision – to renew or not renew – using criteria specified in the rubric for renewal certification. The rubric (identical for all candidates) regardless of certificate area can be found online at: http://www.nbpts.org/sites/default/files/documents/certificates/Renewal/PPG_2013__Final.pdf.
NYS State Licensing/Certification and National Board Certification
State teacher credentialing programs set the basic requirements to teach in each state; NYS Commissioner’s Regulations establish entry level and certificate maintenance requirements for the teaching profession in New York State. National Board Certification represents the attainment of an additional professional voluntary credential. Through the National Board Certification process teacher demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. Achievement of National Board Certification signifies that teachers have developed and demonstrated the skills required of an accomplished education professional.
- Continuing Certification:Teachers holding a NYS Professional Certificate are required to complete 100 hours every five (5) years in order to maintain continuing certification. A teacher in NYS holding a valid National Board Certificate is deemed to have satisfied the requirement to complete 100 hours of professional development in order to maintain a teaching certificate during the five-year professional development period within which NBC was attained (provided that the CTLE certificate holder must continue to meet the applicable required CTLE requirements in language acquisition http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/news/newsitem05122015.html).
Related Programs and Supports
- NYS Teachers of Tomorrow (TOT) legislation includes the NYS Master Teacher Program. Districts receiving TOT funds may choose to utilize some of these funds to provide a stipend for a NBCT hired to teach in a high-needs school. Additional information is available from SED at: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/tot/tot.html.
- Salary Differentials/Stipends/Steps: Thanks to the efforts of local leaders in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, school districts in NYS provide support and other financial incentives to teachers participating in the NBC process and/or achieving the certification (See page 6) These range from one-time stipends to annual stipends or differentials over and above the regular salary for the ten-year life of the certificate. Some locally negotiated provisions require professional services from the NBCT in teacher leadership positions such as coaching or mentoring or other mutually agreed upon service. Incentives can increase a NBCT’s salary by steps on a negotiated salary scale or provide a salary differential http://www.uft.org/our-rights/salary-differentials.
- College Credit: In partnership with NYSUT’s ELT, NBCNY and Empire State College, candidates may register for 3 graduate credits for each component for National Board Certification. Candidates need to be enrolled with a NBC Cohort with an ELT faculty member who has completed the required training for these offerings. See NBCNY.org for cohorts offering this graduate credit option. Each of the 4 courses is $300 for 3 SUNY graduate credits and candidates complete their registration with ELT by January 31st. Candidates should also check with their school district to determine if this graduate credit provides additional compensation.
View full document to see charts listing NYSUT locals that have reported negotiated incentives for NBPTS candidates and NBCTs, as well as the 5 National Board Certification Areas, and National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Core Propositions
Questions and Answers for NYSUT Local Leaders
Q. Why should locals encourage the participation of members in the National Board Certification (NBC) process
A. National Board Certification is performance based standards-based, voluntary professional development emphasizing teaching practices involving reflecting, analyzing, and documenting. It recognizes the important relationships between specific teaching practices and student work. NBCTs can make important contributions in the continuum of a district’s Professional Development Plan as PDP committee members, mentors, coaches, and/or resource persons. NBCTs serve on NYSUT statewide task forces, subject area committees, as instructors for the NYSUT Education and Learning Trust program, and on other advisory groups and panels. Several NBCTs are NYSUT local presidents.
Q. Why should teachers who already have NYS certification and advanced degrees be interested in NBC?
A. National Board Certification is an acknowledgement of accomplished teaching practice through a rigorous peer-reviewed certification process. It is sought voluntarily, and the extensive documentation required is assessed anonymously according to national standards by specially trained teachers with no knowledge of the candidate and where she/he teaches. NBC is a way of validating strong teaching and raising the level of conversation about teaching practice in schools and districts because it focuses on standards addressing various subjects and content along with the multiple developmental levels of school children. The NB process can be linked to a district’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) through collective bargaining, but it is free of the opinions of school and district administrators.
Q. Isn’t the National Board process expensive?
A. Under NYS Education Law 3004-a and Part 86 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education the Albert Shanker Grant provides fee support for National Board Certification. See the information at www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/ashanker/albertshanker.htm In addition, approximately a third of NYSUT locals have negotiated additional candidate support mechanisms.
Q. Do NBCTs teach differently, and does that impact student learning?
A. Recent research documents the positive impact of NBCTs on students in a variety of school settings. It seems that analysis and reflection on teaching practice result in changes in instruction that lead to measurable changes in student achievement. For an extensive review of the research about NBCTs and their students, go to http://www.nbpts.org/promoting-student-learning-growth-achievement
Q. Are there any consequences for the candidate and a school district if the candidate doesn’t achieve NBC?
A. No. Candidates who did not attain NBC report that the experience was extremely beneficial for them in the day-to-day conduct of their teaching practice. It is meaningful and rewarding professional development. As is the case in certain other professions, the NB process permits the banking of successful scores and component retakes so there are additional opportunities to achieve Certification after the initial effort. A significant number of NBCTs become certified as a result of “advanced candidacy.” The candidate’s achievement rate increases every year.
Q. What are some ways or resources locals can provide support for National Board candidates?
A. The following is a list of supports, including equipment to assist candidates in obtaining this credential:
- access to a support group
- PZM microphone
- Laptop computer
- a jump drive (flash drive) or memory card
- video-camera or iPAD
- 3 release days: 1 for support group, 1 for writing retreat, 1 for packing the portfolio or attending the assessment center exercises
- access to copier or scanner
- in-service credit for hours documented in the support group
- recognition for completing components
- encouragement to become an advanced candidate
- recognition for achieving
Q. How can collective bargaining be used as a tool to recognize NB candidacy and provide supports to candidates pursing National Board Certification?
A. More than 265 NYSUT locals report successful negotiations for support and/or incentives for participation in and achievement of National Board Certification. While NYSUT continues to aggressively pursue recognition by NYS for the accomplishments of its NBCTs, local bargaining is a way in which newly emerging professional development needs of members can be addressed. For information on bargaining NB provisions, contact your local’s NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist at your NYSUT Regional Office or Ellen Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org in NYSUT Research and Educational Services, 1- 800-342-9810.
Resources for Teachers and Local Leaders
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Guide to National Board Certification
NYS Education Department Office of Higher Education
Albert Shaker Grant Program Administrator
Albert Shanker Grant and Candidate Support Program
National Board Council of New York Network
New York State Teacher Center Directory
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
Research and Educational Services
1-800-342-9810 or 518-213-6000 ext. 6607
NYSUT National Board Web Page
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
National Education Association (NEA)
NYSUT’s Education & Learning Trust
Susan Lafond, NBCT
Phone: (800) 528-6208 ext. 6521
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