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Washington Tops Nation in Board Certified Teachers

OLYMPIA (December 17, 2013) — Washington has the largest group of newly certified National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), according to numbers released today by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

A total of 516 Washington teachers achieved their certification this year. That puts the state at fourth nationwide in the total number of NBCTs (7,333).

“The National Board certification process is rigorous,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “Many of the teachers I’ve talked to said it has made them better teachers. I fully support their efforts and I congratulate them on this achievement.”

Washington by the numbers

  • Number of new NBCTs in 2013: 516 (national rank: 1st )
  • Total number of NBCTs: 7,333 (national rank: 4th)
  • 31.6% (2,046 out of 6,466) of all bonus-eligible NBCTs teach in “challenging schools.”
  • 38 counties (out of 39) have at least one NBCT.

Sheridan Elementary in Spokane is an example of National Board certification in action. At this school, 88 percent of the students receive free or reduced-priced lunch. Of their teaching staff, 40 percent are now NBCTs, including the principal, Deanna Dashiell.

Washington state’s investment in the National Board program is critical to its success. The state’s conditional loan program helps candidates pay for the cost of certification. Loans are repaid using the bonuses teachers earn after becoming certified. Half of these new NBCTs participated in the loan program and will pay back $506,000 into the revolving fund so that money can be made available to new candidates.

Dorn said he believes the certification process will help with the new evaluation system that began this year. “The new system will bring the same demands and analysis for reflection,” he said. “Our NBCTs represent the very best of our profession and will lead us into the next era of reform."

A joint effort led by the Office of the Governor, the Washington Education Association, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, as well as to broad bipartisan support in the state Legislature, has led to a rapid increase in NBCTs in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee said he was thrilled at Washington’s national rank. “Congratulations to all the teachers who put so much time and effort into earning their certification this year,” Inslee said. “Many of these new NBCTs will be teaching science or math, and will be in schools where their expertise will make the biggest difference. We know this program works, and we know thousands of students will benefit from these incredibly skilled, dedicated educators.”

Top 10 districts in WA with new NBCTs

  • Seattle* (54)
  • Highline* (21)
  • Spokane (20)
  • Bellevue (19)
  • Clover Park (19)
  • Evergreen (19)
  • Federal Way (18)
  • Tacoma (17)
  • Issaquah (16)
  • Lake Washington (15)
*Seattle and Highline rank nationally in the top 20 districts with new NBCTs.

“Our state has excellent educators who continually strive to be best for the students they serve,” said Kim Mead, president of the Washington Education Association (WEA). “The WEA is proud of our members who achieved National Board certification. Congratulations to all who participated in this very difficult process.”

Board certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning. The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers.

“Accomplished teaching, growing and thriving for the educational benefit of K–12 students is what the National Board experience is all about,” said Nasue Nishida, executive director at the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession.

In 2007, the state Legislature passed a bill that awards a $5,000 bonus to each NBCT. Teachers can receive up to an additional $5,000 bonus if they teach in “challenging” schools, which are defined as having a certain percentage of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (50 percent for high schools, 60 percent for middle schools and 70 percent for elementary schools).

Thirty-three percent of new Washington NBCTs teach in challenging schools and thirty-one percent of all NBCTs are teaching in a challenging school.

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About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

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