Two More FSSD Teachers Earn National Board Certification
From left to right: Dowling: Franklin Elementary kindergarten teacher Erin Dowling standing with Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden and teacher Karen Hummer, also of Franklin Elementary. Moore Elementary music teacher Eli Adams standing with Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden and retired teacher Kathy Clark.

The Franklin Special School District is proud to announce that two more teachers have achieved Certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. This brings the number of FSSD teachers who hold a national board certification to 25. The teachers, Eli Adams, a Moore Elementary School music teacher, and Erin Dowling, a Franklin Elementary School kindergarten teacher, were recognized by the Board of Education and “pinned” at the February 11, 2019, School Board meeting by fellow National Board Certified teachers.

National certification is a rigorous process beyond licensure that ensures teachers demonstrate a deep understanding of their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practice. They must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing reflection and continuous learning. It is a symbol of teaching excellence. Although voluntary, it is achieved through a performance-based assessment that takes a year to complete.

Because the FSSD understands the positive impact a teacher with national board certification can have in the classroom, the district pays a significant portion of the submission fee. The FSSD Board of Education holds national certification in such high regard that it reimburses the candidate almost two-thirds of the total cost of this arduous process. In addition, the FSSD rewards a successfully certified teacher with a $4,000 annual supplement for the 5-year period of certification, which may be extended if the teacher completes a challenging renewal process. In return, the students reap the benefits of a stronger, more reflective teacher focused on student engagement.

Another support provided to FSSD teachers who choose to participate in the rigorous process of national certification is local support, headed by Human Resources Supervisor Leslie Duke and Associate Director for Teaching and Learning Catherine Stephens, Ed.D. These administrators support candidates who wish to be guided along the evaluation process with professional learning opportunities and additional support. Candidates also receive one-to-one mentoring guidance from their peers in the district who are already certified. “Supporting educators in the pursuit of this gold standard of National Board Certification is one of the many privileges we have in the district,” Stephens said. “Observing these educators think deeply about their craft, demonstrate highly skilled instruction and focus on advancing student thinking, reasoning and learning is highly rewarding.”

The FSSD rewards its teachers for pursuing and achieving this certification because the district’s vision of “Excellence in Teaching and Learning for All” sets a standard that will place the best and most qualified teachers in the classrooms. “We are committed to supporting this valuable work as we recognize the powerful impact it has on the individual teacher pursuing this certification as well as the direct benefit it has on our students,” Stephens said. She noted that the teacher’s professional reflection and commitment to improving instructional practice can lift an entire grade level or subject area in a school as it tends to cause others to open their minds to professional reflection and growth as well.

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