Four Battle Ground Public Schools teachers earned National Board Certification this year. BGPS recognizes Katie Paulson of Pleasant Valley Primary, Linda Bailey of Tukes Valley Primary, Tamra Pfeifle Davisson of Amboy Middle School and Lorri Sibley of Daybreak Primary for earning the advanced teaching credential.
National Board Certification encourages and helps teachers to improve their educational skills and is valid for 10 years. "It's an honor. Not everyone pursues it, and not everyone who pursues it, achieves it," said Paula Koehler-Martin, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development.
Teachers who pursue National Board Certification actively apply and must effectively demonstrate the National Board's Five Core Propositions that set forth the profession's vision for accomplished teaching and underscore the accomplished teacher's commitment to advancing student achievement. It takes about three years to achieve National Board Certification, but teachers who complete the rigorous process benefit from a financial incentive of a $5,000 bonus from the state.
Battle Ground Public Schools offers a cohort that helps teachers through the National Board Certification process. Cohort participants provide support to each other with the guidance of facilitators. In addition to BGPS teachers, the cohort has also helped teachers from the Ridgefield and Hockinson school districts achieve certification.
Newly certified kindergarten teacher Katie Paulson saw National Board Certification as the next logical step in growing as a learner and an educator. "The connections between planning, curriculum, instruction and assessment are much more fluent for me." Paulson said.
Earning national certification inspires teachers to reflect on their teaching methods and encourages them to find new ways to engage students. Tamra Pfeifle Davisson, who teaches fine arts and earned national certification this year, said that "becoming aware of every decision I make and how it impacts my students was eye-opening." She said that certification taught her to "take the time to teach the why of art, not just the how."
Board-certified teachers benefit the school district by sharing their information, knowledge and experience with other teachers who can then take the knowledge into their own classrooms. Most importantly, students benefit from the enhanced skills of board-certified teachers who make the most of their interactions with the children they teach. Newly certified fourth grade teacher Linda Bailey said, "We hope to inspire in our students a love of knowledge and understanding; widening their horizons, teaching them to question, and creating a joy in discovery that will stay with them throughout their lifetimes."