Special to The Gazette

Three educators based in Emporia recently found out they had again achieved the highest credential available to American educators as a National Board Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Two of the educators are teachers with Emporia USD 253. They are:

• Barbara Fowler, social studies teacher at Emporia High School; certificate area: early adolescence/ social studies-history;

• Lana Ritchie, physical education teacher at Emporia High School, certificate area: early adolescence through young adulthood/ physical education

Alvin Peters, who heads the program mentoring educators working toward national board certification, also earned renewal of his certificate in early adolescence through young adulthood/social studies-history. Peters is an Emporia State University alum and serves as director of the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification.

Peters and Fowler earned their initial NBCT status 20 years ago. As the life of their certification was 10 years, they worked to renew their certifications 10 years ago, and in 2018-19 worked toward the achievement one more time.

“This process of board certification is similar to how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” Peters said. “This is voluntary — no state, school district, or program requires they go through this process.”

There are now eight NBCTs in Emporia USD 253.

While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, NBCTs have demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. National certification takes from one to three years to complete.

They were among the 13 educators from across the state who went through the challenging process of renewing their certificates in 2018-19.

Emporia State’s Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification maintains a 99.5 percent renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt since 2005.

The process of national board certification is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award.

“National Board certification is a different kind of honor,” Peters said. “Teachers must submit extensive documentation of their instruction, including videos of their students at work in the classroom.”

The accomplishment of national board certification benefits the teachers, the schools they work in and studies have shown NBCTs improve student learning. Guidance for the candidates comes from Emporia State’s Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification.

More information about the program can be found at www.emporia.edu/gpcntc.

Is your teacher board certified?

They are among the best teachers in the profession, undergoing a rigorous process taking at least one year to complete. They are told to expect a 400-hour time commitment, and less than half will achieve certification on their first try.

NBCTs represent less than 1 percent of all educators in Kansas. The voluntary process is the equivalent of national board certification for physicians and other health professions. There are 452 teachers in Kansas who are NBCTs.

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