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Taft Teachers Earn National Board Certification

From+left+to+right%3A+Madden%2C+Newton%2C+Almaraz%2C+Dooley%2C+and+Santillan
From left to right: Madden, Newton, Almaraz, Dooley, and Santillan

From left to right: Madden, Newton, Almaraz, Dooley, and Santillan

From left to right: Madden, Newton, Almaraz, Dooley, and Santillan

Juliana Bahena, Reporter

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     Recently a few of Taft High School’s teachers have taken the extra step to go above and beyond, receiving National Board Certification. NBC teachers go through a rigorous process that lasts three years with many different components. The NBC title is the highest level of teaching in the classroom without becoming a part of administration.

     Teachers  Kathleen Madden, Mayra Almaraz, Sergio Santillan, Ryan Dooley, and Barbara Newton have proven dedication to their teaching career by tackling this challenge. These teachers had to balance class work, their own assignments, and their personal lives.

     “Going through the certification essentially was just like going back to school for a masters. I was feeling like I was getting stagnant with my teaching. I felt that I wasn’t growing as a teacher. I went to a meeting to hear more about NBC and it was like killing two bird with one stone; I could get my masters and be NBC certified at the same time,” says Santillan.

     Some teachers go through a three year completion program while others go through a two year program. The only difference between the two is that one is given a longer time frame.

     “The program I went through was the Chicago Teachers Union and it kind of served as a mentorship program. Even before you make the commitment to certification, they have informational sessions and you begin applications for NBC. There is also a writing criteria you have to complete about your classroom and then you’re given a mentor to guide you through the process,” said Dooley

     There are four components that go into a teaching portfolio: assessment, student case study, video proof of how the teacher run the class, and how the teacher uses the data collected from students.  

     Within the United States school system there are many different criteria that teachers need to meet in order to be a part of the field. Those who are NBC certified are eligible to teach across the country.     

     “Teaching is a very noble profession, you are given a curriculum to teach but you never teach the same lesson the same way twice. I’ve taught English 4 for the last four years and it is the same curriculum but I’m always changing things up by adding new pieces of literature and activities. Completing this process really helped me refresh that by giving me new ideas,” says Madden  

     According to site www.nbcpts.org, Illinois ranks within the top 5 states with the the most NBC teachers. Chicago Public Schools often rank at the top nationally.

     “I think this is something a lot of educators strive for just because of the importance of really understanding each student as individuals in the classroom and understanding how our knowledge of each student could come into play in the classroom. This helps form a lesson plan that fulfills everyone’s learning needs. NBC was very important to me because there were some things I did not consider before this process. NBC really helped me conceptualize all of my knowledge on my students to make learning exciting and meaningful,” said Newton.

     National Board Certifications serves as a learning experience and proves that no one is fully done learning.

     “You’re going to learn about yourself and teaching, and the way you see your students is going to change. National Board reminded me that if you don’t know who your students are, you can’t teach them. You really need to first get to know your students, collect data, like how many of them work, have access to the internet outside of school, or are in school activities. Things like this really change the way you see your students,” says Almaraz.

     Teachers go above and beyond to push their students to succeed, not only their classroom but in life as well. They have truly taken the extra step to form healthy relationships and be a part of  a support system to help students be successful. National Board Certification definitely gives these hard working educators the recognition they deserve.

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Taft Teachers Earn National Board Certification