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December 7, 2012

3 more Rowan teachers nationally certified

Dec. 7, 2012 —     Three Rowan County elementary school teachers have achieved their certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

    They are Jennifer Cooper, 5th grade teacher at Clearfield Elementary School; Ganan Fannin, 3rd grade teacher at Tilden Hogge Elementary School; and Amy Keadle, 1st grade teacher at Tilden Hogge Elementary School.  

    The NBPTS certification does not replace standard teacher certification, but instead compliments the state license.  

    The Rowan County School District now has 11 teachers who hold NBPTS certification.

      Joining Jennifer Cooper, Ganan Fannin, and Amy Keadle in the elite “National Boards club” are Brigette Brock, Ronetta Brown, Angie Caudill, Belinda Hitch, Donna Jackson, Melissa Jenkins, Melissa Marcum, and Martha Thompson.

    These Rowan County faculty members join more than 100,000 fellow teachers across the United States who have received certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards since 1987.  

    In 2011, Kentucky ranked 11th in the nation in the number of teachers with NBPTS certification.  

    Dr. Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s commissioner of education, said, “Effective teaching cannot be measured solely by the results of a one-day, one-time standardized test  of student learning. National Board certification is a proven method of documenting effective teaching practices. It is time we engage our NBCTs in Kentucky in leading education and encouraging and supporting more teachers to take this journey toward excellence in teaching and learning.”

    An important first step on the road to attaining their national certification was Morehead State University’s EDUC 603, a class taught by Belinda Hitch, who is on loan to Morehead State University as an instructor in the College of Education. The class that Hitch teaches helps prepare teachers as they begin their national certification journey.  

    In the class, teachers can get a “taste” of the certification process by starting with the Take One.  

    Not only did Belinda Hitch offer support and guidance for the teachers in the class, Donna Jackson, a teacher at Rowan County Middle School who received her national certification several years ago, was assigned by NBPT organization to serve as a mentor to teachers going through the certification process.  

    Both Hitch and Jackson were allowed to read through the teachers’ materials but could not make suggestions.

    “This class was so important because it helped me understand the whole process and understand the National Board standards,” said Jennifer Cooper.  

    Each teacher working toward the National Board certification, a nearly year-long task, must put together an individual portfolio which includes video samples of teaching techniques as well as analyses of the lessons and the exchanges between the teacher and her students.

    “What was helpful for me was having someone else read through my entries and give me feedback,” said Ganan Fannin. “It was important to have those ‘extra eyes.’”

    Knowing that the each entry in the portfolio had to be assembled in a particular order, Keadle found herself checking and re-checking her portfolio into the “wee” hours of the morning before mailing it.

    One of their greatest challenges came after their entries had been submitted. The three teachers had to undergo a 2.5 hour written test and undergo security procedures unlike any these three teachers had ever experienced.

    “No cell phones, no iPads and we had to be finger-printed before we went in. And, if we had to leave to use the restroom, when we came back, we had to be fingerprinted again,” said Mrs. Keadle.

    When asked if they would recommend the National Board certification process for their fellow teachers, the answer was a unanimous “absolutely.”

    But Cooper, Fannin, and Keadle also wanted to make it understood that the process requires time, persistence and a lot of understanding from family members.  

    Now that the three teachers have achieved their National Board certification, they have time to reflect on this past year and how it has affected their teaching.  

    “For me, it has made me more aware of the National Board standards and how they fit perfectly with RTI (response to intervention),” said Ganan Fannin.

    “Even though going through the whole process was crazy, it was the process that has made me more reflective as a teacher,” said Jennifer Cooper. “I’m more aware of the ‘why’.”

    Amy Keadle added, “In the end, I think gaining an understanding of the National Board standards and putting them to use in our classrooms has ensured that our students will be getting better teachers.”

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