Kentucky recognized 82 teachers newly certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) during a Feb. 11 virtual ceremony.
According to Peggy Brookins, NBPTS president and chief executive officer, Kentucky had the fifth-largest class of newly certified National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) nationally. These educators join more than 4,000 teachers across the state who have gone through this highly reflective and transformative professional development, with over 600 of their colleagues currently pursuing certification.
“This process is rigorous, it’s intense, it’s challenging and it’s time-consuming,” said Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. “The fact that you’ve all chosen to go through this process and that you’ve been awarded your National Board certification is proof enough that you’re all exemplary education professionals.
“On behalf of all of us at the Kentucky Department of Education, and the state Board of Education, congratulations. We are so proud of you. We honor the work and sacrifices that you made to get to this day.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NBPTS provided additional flexibilities for teachers who pursued certification this year. Another group of NBCTs is expected to be announced in late February, adding to Kentucky’s total, Brookins said.
With the help of Glass, Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Brookins praised the Commonwealth for establishing a “landscape in Kentucky that values accomplished teaching.”
“Last year, the Commonwealth had more new National Board Certified Teachers than 45 other states,” she said. “You’ve led the way with support and preparation, and you’ve done that through legislation, as well.”
During the ceremony, Gov. Beshear signed a proclamation designating Feb. 11 as National Board Certified Teacher Day.
Under normal circumstances, Gov. Beshear also would have presented each of the newly certified teachers with an official pin from NBPTS. While he said he wishes he would have been able to personally honor each teacher for this accomplishment, as well as for their work throughout the pandemic, Gov. Beshear thanked all the honorees for their willingness to be celebrated virtually.
“Our teachers and their organizations step up every single time to do the right thing, and today is no exception,” he said. “You are always willing to sacrifice to ensure that other people are getting the best results in their education, in their health and in so many other areas.”
Although COVID-19 may have changed our lifestyles, it has not changed the state’s priorities, said Lt. Gov. Coleman, who also is an educator.
“Gov. Beshear and I are committed to making sure that Kentucky’s teachers and students have the support they need through this pandemic and long after it’s over,” she said.
The road to obtaining National Board certification is challenging — the process requires nearly 400 hours of time and effort to achieve.
Educators must submit a detailed portfolio that includes examples of student work, an outline of what teachers have done outside of the classroom to improve student achievement and video recordings that show how they teach and interact with students. In addition, they must submit a reflective piece on student assessment and learning and then take a rigorous exam to demonstrate they have mastered the content of their chosen certification area.
National Board certification is voluntary and open to all teachers who have at least three years of classroom experience and a bachelor’s degree. Certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from preschool through 12th grade.
Senate Bill 174, signed by Gov. Beshear on April 24, 2020, amends KRS 161.1211 to allow National Board certification to qualify a teacher for Rank II status and updates the Rank I requirements to reflect this change.
Teachers who are currently Rank III and have obtained National Board certification may submit an application for rank change using their Education Professional Standards Board account to obtain Rank II status, in addition to those seeking to change from a Rank II to Rank I.
Also speaking during the virtual ceremony were Kentucky Board of Education member Holly Bloodworth, Kentucky NBCT Network President Sarah Yost, Kentucky Education Association President Eddie Campbell, and Sofie Farmer, a senior at the Gatton Academy and a member of KDE’s Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council. Bloodworth, Yost and Campbell also are National Board Certified Teachers.