Washington state produced the largest number of new national board-certified teachers in the country this year.
The state added 516 and now has the fourth largest number of board-certified teachers in the country at 7,333, according to figures released today by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Seattle’s national ranking among districts is 5th or 6th, depending on who’s counting.
The National Board website says Seattle is 6th with 49 new certified teachers.
That number really is 54 because apparently five teachers didn’t indicate their district on the application, but the state knows those teachers are from Seattle, said Kristen Jaudon, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Highline School District, which did not have the same accounting problem, tied four school systems for 20th place with 21 new teachers receiving the honor.
Other area districts with new board-certified teachers include: Bellevue (19), Federal Way (18), Tacoma (17), Issaquah (16) and Lake Washington (15).
Board certification is a voluntary, advanced teaching credential.
Candidates must submit a portfolio of classroom teaching that includes samples of student work and video recordings of instruction, which is evaluated by a national panel of peers. Candidates also must pass a knowledge test on the subjects they teach at a computer-based testing center.
Washington regularly ranks among the top five states nationally with the most new board-certified teachers, according to the national board.
The state has promoted the program in a variety of ways.
State lawmakers in 2007 gave teachers an extra incentive to seek certification by awarding a $5,000 bonus to those who receive the credential. Board-certified teachers can earn up to $5,000 in additional bonus money by teaching in “challenging” low-income schools, which are determined by the percentage of children qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch.
A third of the state’s new board-certified teachers work in challenging schools and 31 percent of all Washington board-certified teachers are teaching in a challenging school, according to OSPI.
Candidates also can get help from the state’s conditional loan program, which covers $2,000 of the $2,500 application fee. Loans are repaid using the bonuses teachers earn after becoming certified. Half of the state’s new board-certified teachers received loans and will pay back $506,000 into the revolving fund, according to OSPI.
The Washington Education Association, the state’s teachers union, also promotes national board certification with two training programs that help candidates at the beginning of the application process and again just before the portfolio is due.
In addition, the Seattle Education Association has several specially trained facilitators among its members who help groups of Seattle teachers through the process each year, according to SEA president Jonathan Knapp.
“We are the first union in the state to do this entirely within the union,” Knapp said.