More teachers going for National Board Certification

Ector County ISD now has 130 teachers pursuing National Board Certification, according to an update on the Strategic Plan presented at the Board of Trustees workshop Tuesday.

Executive Director of Talent Development Ashley Osborne said National Board Certification is considered the gold standard for teacher certification. It is a voluntary, advanced professional certification for prekindergarten through 12th grade educators that identifies teaching experience through a performance-based, peer-reviewed assessment.

Board certified teachers automatically receive a recognized designation on their teaching certificate and qualify for Teacher Incentive Allotment funds.

Through the process, teachers hone their practice and become reflective practitioners.

More than a decade of research confirms that students taught by board certified teachers learn more than students taught by other teachers, according to the presentation.

Just three years ago, Osborne said, ECISD did not have anyone seeking board certification. Superintendent Scott Muri was the only one with National Board Certification initially.

Supports for teachers include professional learning facilitators; National Board Resource Center at Stanford; writing retreats; and other items.

There is more than $5,000 in support per candidate funded by the Permian Strategic Partnership.

The first cohort will find out in December if they have earned National Board Certification.

Lauren Tavarez, director of digital learning, presented on the district going for the Trusted Learning Environment Seal, the nation’s only privacy framework designed specifically for school systems.

Tavarez said the quest for this has been ongoing for two years.

She added that it has the potential to improve and increase cyber security standards and processes for the 38,000 people in the ECISD family including students and staff members.

What’s at stake is the information of 38,000 ECISD students and staff transferred daily; social security numbers; birthdates; addresses; banking, etc.

Also, data transferred through online learning platforms, staff payroll, district partners and vendors and state reporting.

Tavarez said school districts are a primary target for cyber criminals.

“The Trusted Learning Environment Seal is the nation’s only privacy framework designed specifically for school systems,” she said.

Tavarez said 21 districts nationwide currently have the seal. Students and staff are at risk for ransomware.

“Students and staff identities can be stolen on what’s called the dark web to other cyber criminals,” she said.

Evidence is required for 105 categories.

“This touches literally every department in the district,” Tavarez said.

The target completion date is June 2024.

“We are currently sitting at 90 percent overall of work done,” Tavarez said.

She added that they will likely apply for the seal before the target date.

Executive Director of District Operations Cortney Smith reviewed the development of a long-range facilities master plan.

A plan to revise the district’s wellness and health policy for the district.

“This policy has been revised to include authorization of a registered nurse or other designated and trained district employee to store and administer opioid antagonist medication to assist a person in the event of an opioid-related drug overdose,” supplemental agenda material said.

This refers to NARCAN, also known as Naloxone, specifically, Chief Communications Officer Mike Adkins said.

Police already have the authority to do it and have been trained to dispense it, Adkins said.

Director of Nursing and Health Services Becky Rhodes said this type of policy is becoming standard across Texas.