Battle Ground educators earn National Board Certification

May 21, 2021 cbrown

Battle Ground educators earn National Board Certification

May 21, 2021

Two educators in the Battle Ground Public School district have taken the challenging step of expanding their own education, earning certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). National Board certification is a rigorous program that takes one to three years, helping educators to hone their teaching skills and build student enthusiasm for learning.

National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure.  Only about 40 percent of educators earn the certification on their first attempt. Battle Ground Public Schools currently has 48 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) working in the district.

This year’s recipients are:

Allison Brown, seventh grade ELA/history teacher at Chief Umtuch Middle School

Jolyn deBra, first grade teacher at Maple Grove Primary

“A National Board certification shows a real commitment to improving as an educator,” said Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters. “The effort helps our teachers grow as people and professionals and our students benefit from educators who care deeply about their craft and have a desire for continued improvement.”

National Board Certified Teachers are highly accomplished educators who meet high and rigorous standards set by the NBPTS. 

Teacher Allison Brown

Allison Brown, seventh grade ELA/history teacher at Chief Umtuch Middle School

“It was one of those things that I felt like I always wanted to do,” Brown said. Now in her eighth year at Chief Umtuch, Brown feels like completion of the National Board Certification program has made her a better, more introspective educator. “I spend a lot more time now going back and thinking about ‘how did that lesson go, what did my students really learn?’” she said.

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. 

Teacher Jolyn deBra

Jolyn deBra, first grade teacher at Maple Grove Primary

Now in her 17th year of teaching, deBra said she wanted to challenge herself to become better at reaching her students. “Board certification is all about learning. If your students aren’t learning, then that’s a you thing,” she said. “You have to set your ego at the door. You might think that you have these great lessons and you’re doing amazing; National Boards makes you question all of that.”

Both educators said they were grateful for the support of other teachers going through the certification process.

“We had teachers from all kinds of different subjects in our cohort,” Brown said. “It was interesting, because you got to bounce ideas off of each other, but there were also lots of things that were different for each of us.”

Washington and North Carolina led the nation with new National Board Certified teachers in 2020-21, according to the NBPTS. “The pandemic truly tested the mettle of anybody working in a school setting — including teachers and their students, “said Peggy Brookins, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “There should be high standards for all professionals — and these professional educators have proven that they teach to those high standards during a year that was uniquely difficult.” 

Nationally, Washington ranks third with more than 11,000 National Board Certified teachers. The state provides an annual stipend of approximately $5,505 for K-12 NBCTs.

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