Teacher certification aims to attract, retain teachers

An initiative to enhance teacher quality in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico will give teachers a chance to achieve certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Announced in a teleconference Wednesday, it is a partnership among the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Permian Strategic Partnership and the New Mexico National Board Certified Teacher Network.
The call included Peggy Brookins, NBCT president, and CEO of the National Board, Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri, Tracee Bentley, president and CEO of the Permian Strategic Partnership and superintendents from Eastern New Mexico. PSP is the funder.
It was moderated by Richard Klein director of communications for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
A news release said this project will support approximately 5 percent of teachers per year, in each district, to pursue Board-certification, resulting in approximately 700 teachers engaging in the certification process over three years.
Many of these teachers will become Board-certified. All participating teachers, even those who go through the certification process but don’t achieve, will improve their practice and have a positive impact on student learning, the release said.
Of that 700, Muri said that will include a little over 300 teachers in ECISD over the next three years.
Bentley said the grant is a little over $1 million a year to support those 700 teachers. That’s assuming all 700 teachers will complete the certification process, Bentley said.
“Every student in this country deserves to have the best possible teacher,” Brookins said. “Of course, every parent wants their child to have an excellent teacher helping their child grow and develop. The goal of this grant is to ensure that all students in the Permian Basin region are taught by an accomplished National Board certified teacher. The grant will help expand and accelerate work we’re focused on … This partnership will allow us to increase the number of nationally board certified teachers in the Basin region. The region will have more than 700 over three years of new teachers participating in this partnership. Close to 100,000 students will be taught in classrooms with National Board certified teachers.”
“Community leaders should be excited because our work together will impact real lives and families,” Brookins added. “The National Board sets the standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.”
In Texas, the legislature passed House Bill 3 in 2019. Muri said part of that recognizes the National Board certification for a financial opportunity.
“In ECISD, teachers that become National Board certified will earn an additional $3,000 to $9,000 per year for the life of their certificate. The difference between $3,000 and $9,000 depends on the level of poverty of the school in which they work. Once a teacher earns the certificate, they’ll automatically earn between $3,000 and $9,000 every single year for the life of their certificate in Texas,” Muri said.
Brookins said the certification lasts five years before it needs to be renewed.
In New Mexico, Klein said teachers receive a stipend of about $6,800 each year.
Brookins noted that the process to become National Board certified is rigorous.
“There are four separate components,” she said. “The process can take anywhere from one to three years in order to submit those initial four components and then two additional years for any components that did not meet the standards …”
Klein said the process was built so the teachers have flexibility and with the understanding that they’ve got to balance their work and family life.
Bentley said advancing quality education is a top priority for PSP and has been since PSP started.
“The PSP seeks to accelerate educational improvements by supporting initiatives that expand and strengthen teacher talent available to Permian students, improve the professional development of educators and leaders, and equip school districts’ leadership with resources and partnerships for enhanced strategic planning, innovation and execution,” Bentley said in a news release. “Children in school today will be joining the workforce of tomorrow and quality education is critical for success. Our schools must have the resources to provide the next generation with access to highly qualified teachers and a robust curriculum. This investment will make it more attractive for teachers to come to and stay in these schools, and we are thrilled to partner with the National Board.”
Muri, who is National Board certified himself, said Wednesday’s announcement is a significant opportunity for teachers in the eight districts impacted by Wednesday’s announcement. He said this means that not only school districts but the community through PSP believe so much in education that they are investing deeply in the No. 1 factor that influences student achievement, teachers.
“… We are presenting to our teachers today the gold standard; the opportunity for teachers to learn to develop their skill set and to truly make a much more powerful impact upon the lives of the kids that they serve,” he added.