A teacher in a West Virginia school district says the school system has a commitment in place to hire the best teachers and encourage teachers to earn National Board Certification, which should be embraced by the district's next superintendent. "We should do everything we can to get a nationally certified teacher in each school," said David Alfred, a music instructor. "These teachers can get 10 months of learning from a student out of nine months."
In an effort to improve student test scores, a Colorado school district has decided to do away with grade levels, instead establishing groups based on content mastery. Beginning in the fall, students through eighth grade will be assigned to the new levels, while high school students will be phased into the new system gradually.
A South Dakota teacher working toward National Board Certification says that if the state stops helping teachers pay application fees or offering stipends, some NBCTs and NBCT candidates may move to states that offer more assistance and incentives related to the distinguished certification. "It's proof to parents, my students, the district that I have the skills, knowledge and experience, and parents can be confident they are entrusting their children to a highly qualified teacher," Monica Pickard said of becoming an NBCT.
The U.S. Department of Education is funding a study to determine what would draw the best teachers, including National Board Certified Teachers, to struggling schools, and whether school performance would improve once they are there. Teachers selected to participate in the study will be given a stipend of up to $20,000 to move to an underperforming school for two years, and selected teachers who are already in struggling schools will be given $10,000 to remain there for at least two more years.
Educators in Texas are looking to Finland for ideas on how to close achievement gaps among students and improve math and science performance. School reformers in Texas are considering mirroring some steps Finland has taken, including the establishment of one curriculum for all schools, setting high standards for all students while providing help for those who need it and allowing well-trained teachers the freedom to teach.