2 Graves Co. Schools teachers renew National Board Certification, bringing total to five | News
GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Two teachers in the Graves County School District renewed their National Board Certification in 2012; three others renewed in 2011.
In all, some 36 teachers in the Graves County Schools currently are certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. Graves County leads the Jackson Purchase and has been among the top ten districts in Kentucky in both the number and percentage of National Board Certified Teachers in recent years. Kentucky, in turn, is among the top states in National Board Certification.
Graves County Central Elementary School sixth grade teacher Amy Murphey renewed her National Board Certification in 2012, after she initially earned it in 2002. Sedalia Elementary School third grade teacher Christy George renewed her National Board Certification after she initially earned it in 2003.
“The process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher helped me analyze my teaching methods,” Murphey said. “As a result, before I teach a lesson or unit, I think about why I am teaching and what activities are important for my students to gain new knowledge and understanding about the world around them.”
When she teaches her students about cultural diversity, she leads them in a book reading and discussion, coupled with the film "Paper Clips," a documentary about middle school students in Whitwell, Tenn., learning about the Holocaust. The two teachers in the film remind her of her own experience with National Board Certification, which led her increasingly to see education from the learner’s perspective.
“National Board Certification is the most rigorous, hands-on and individualized program I’ve ever encountered in teacher preparation,” said George. “I think that’s appropriate because what the program applies to me as a student, I then apply to my own students in my role as a teacher in the classroom. This whole process taught me to truly reflect on my teaching and the goals I have for my students. I learned to meet them at their individual points of need, incorporate more creative teaching techniques and develop strategies to reach all learning styles."
The first Graves County teachers earned National Board Certification in 2001, all from Sedalia Elementary: Keri Dowdy, Dana Jackson, and Alecia Ladd. Dowdy continues to teach fourth grade and Jackson continues to teach kindergarten there. Ladd continues to teach fourth grade, but transferred to Central Elementary, when that school opened in 2004.
“I’m embarrassed to say that initially I sought National Board Certification to obtain my Rank I Certification,” Ladd said. To be hired, a Kentucky teacher must hold a bachelor’s degree in education. To continue teaching in Kentucky schools, each eventually must earn a master’s degree. Rank I can be obtained through a second master’s degree. Each step generally includes a pay upgrade.
She continued, “After going through the process, however, I realized I received so much more! I continually have developed as an educator, perceiving in a far different light both children as well as my role in educating them.
“In addition, National Board Certification has given me many professional opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.” Ladd said, “I encourage teachers who want to grow professionally and enjoy a stipend to pursue National Board Certification, while also promoting renewal for those NBCTs whose recertification is coming up soon.”
In fact, Ladd served for a time as an official advocate of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, encouraging teachers throughout western Kentucky to Pursue National Board Certification. In 2006, six of the nine Graves County teachers earning National Board Certification came from Ladd’s school, Graves County Central Elementary.
“By becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, I am more aware of how students best learn,” said Dowdy. “I take this information to increase the effectiveness of my hands-on lessons.” In Dowdy’s case, “hands-on” ranges from leading her students in growing the ingredients to bake their own pizza to creating and maintaining a compost heap at their school, Sedalia Elementary. She routinely invites parents into her classroom that also is home to a stuffed otter, among other animals – some living, some not. The parents dissect small creatures and lead the students in analyzing what they’ve seen.
“Going through the National Board process has impacted my teaching more than any other professional development,” said Jackson. “It has taught me to take a critical look at everything I do in my classroom and assess how it impacts student learning.”
Since the National Board program is individualized, Jackson’s approach as a kindergarten teacher is far different from that of a high school teacher, for example, and that’s taken into consideration.
National Board Certification is the highest credential available in the teaching profession. The certificate makes the teachers’ accreditation valid in any state. Both state and national goals are to have at least one NBCT in every school by 2020. The program is designed to reward and retain good teachers in the classroom. Kentucky teachers who have earned the master’s degree can earn Rank I certification by completing work through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Candidates also must have three years of teaching experience and must be teaching in the field in which they are seeking certification. The program is rigorous. Many candidates do not successfully complete requirements in their first attempt. Candidates have up to three years to complete the process.
Successful candidates must demonstrate evidence of teaching excellence and develop new classroom strategies. Most of the program consists of in-class experiences. They are supplemented by extensive work outside the classroom analyzing, reflecting, and writing on teaching, strategies, and philosophy. Portfolios include videotapes of teaching and “artifacts” of students’ work. Evaluations are based on content knowledge, teaching effectiveness, and ability to manage and measure student learning. Assessment includes a challenging computerized essay exam.
Preparation of materials typically takes at least 300 hours and sometimes more than 400 hours while the teacher continues to teach full time.
Other National Board Certified Teachers in the district, their subjects or grade levels, their schools, and the years in which they earned National Board Certification include:
- Michele Douglas, language arts, Graves County High School, ’03
- Yvonne Woodward, computers, Graves County Middle School, ’03;
- Kris Buss, kindergarten, Wingo, ’04
- Lisa Crowley, first grade, Sedalia, ’04
- Missy Jones, second grade, Farmington, ’04
- Leslie Williams, fourth grade, Sedalia, ’04
- Anne Allen, sixth grade, Farmington, ’05
- Pat Oldham, first grade, Wingo, ’05
- Barry Leonard, social studies, GCHS, ’05
- Jim Whitaker, math, GCHS, ’05
- Patsy Riley, kindergarten, Central, ’06
- Julie Forsythe, second grade, Central, ’06
- Amy Norman, third grade, Central, ’06
- Deena Green, third grade, Central, ’06
- Cindy Allred, second grade, Central, ’06
- Carol Rollins, fifth grade, Central, ’06
- Crystal Cowart, first grade, Fancy Farm, ’06
- LeAnna Pritchard, third grade, Wingo, ’06
- Jeff Williams, music and fine arts, GCHS, ’06;
- Lynda Hiles, librarian, GCHS, ’07
- Janna Mullins, sixth grade, Sedalia, ’07
- Phyllis Ray, first grade, Central, ’07
- Kim Seavers, kindergarten, Fancy Farm, ’07;
- Reba Wiggins, first grade, Cuba, ’08;
- Scott Bradley, social studies, GCHS, ’09
- T.J. Davidson, second grade, Lowes, ’09
- Connie Sparks, sixth grade, Lowes, ’09
- Jeremy Krug, chemistry, GCHS, ’09;
- Jackie Lear, physical education, Cuba/Fancy Farm, ’10;
- Mechelle Gattis, business, GCHS, ’11
- Khristain Elliott, social studies, GCHS, ’11
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