Bladen County Schools holding steady with nationally certified teachers

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County is holding steady with regard to the number of nationally certified teachers.

Each year, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards releases reports of the number of educators attaining certification through the Arlington, Va.-based organization. Though Bladen County did not have any newly certified educators, two teachers — one at Bladenboro Primary and one at East Bladen — were awarded renewed certification.

The duo’s accomplishment means the district is holding steady at 23 certified personnel in assignment eligible for National Board pay, or 6.82 percent. Statewide, 21.6 percent of educators are certified, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Bladen County ranks 91st of the state’s 114 districts in terms of the number of teachers nationally certified in assignment. According to DPI data, the last time Bladen County had teachers newly certified was during the 2010/2011 certification cycle, when three educators received the endorsement.

“Our state’s students are the winners when their teachers invest the time and effort to meet the demanding standards of national certification,” North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson said. “The certification process helps teachers strengthen their practice to be highly effective educators in their classrooms and able instructional leaders in their schools.”

Data supports Johnson’s view. A 2006 study done at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that schools with a teaching staff composed of between 3.6 and 7.4 percent National Board certified teachers “see a statistically significant improvement in student performance” and that “student performance gains continue to rise as additional NBCTs are added to staff.”

A way to recognize accomplished teaching, National Board Certification is based on rigorous standards that evaluate teaching through assessments based on performance. The assessment typically takes one to three years to complete. Teachers in North Carolina who achieve certification receive a 12 percent salary supplement to their regular pay and are awarded eight continuing education credits.

In the latest certification cycle, the Tar Heel state once again took the national lead. A report released earlier this month revealed that 616 N.C. educators attained new certification, bring the state’s total to more than 21,000. North Carolina alone accounts for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s National Board certified teachers, a distinction it has held overwhelmingly for years. Florida comes in a distant second, with 13,559 educators, followed by Washington (10,018), South Carolina (9,024), and California (6,755).

Wake County leads the nation in the number of nationally certified teachers, with 2,631. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is fourth with 2,033; Guilford County is ninth with 768; Buncombe County is 17th with 563; and Winston-Salem/Forsyth is 18th with 562.

NBPTS also listed in its report the nation’s top universities in terms of the number of alumni attaining the certification, and numerous North Carolina colleges made the list, including some local ones. Appalachian State University took the top spot, followed by East Carolina University in second, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in fourth, UNC-Greensboro in fifth, and UNC-Charlotte in eighth. N.C State University, Western Carolina, UNC-Wilmington, and Meredith College also made the top 50.

Additional information about the National Board certification is available online.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

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Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal