In December, two Greene County Public School teachers earned their national board certification. Julie Haddix, a Language Arts teacher at Nathanael Greene Elementary School and Rachel Freid, a mathematics teacher at William Monroe Middle School, completed the rigorous process several months ago and were just notified of the achievement.

National Board Certification is a nationwide, standardized process that requires teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by completing three portfolios in addition to a more traditional assessment. The portfolios require the teachers to submit extensive reflective writing, as well as video evidence of their teaching and student work.

Certification is available in 25 different areas representing 16 disciplines and four developmental levels. Haddix, who has been teaching at Nathanael Greene Elementary School for 15 years, earned her certification in Reading and Language Arts in Early and Middle Childhood.

“The requirements for certification really made me focus on my teaching process and decisions. It was very reflective and I think it has made me a better teacher,” Haddix said. "“It took me two years to complete the requirements. The last thing was a test on teaching theory and practice in the language arts … I felt a lot of sympathy for our students when I was taking that test!”

Freid, who has been teaching for 13 years with six at William Monroe Middle School, earned her certification in Mathematics for Early Adolescents. She said she heard about the board certification program through a presentation by Tim Hickey, the coordinator of innovative programs at Greene County Technical Education Center.

In his presentation, Hickey illuminated that while 90% of all doctors are board certified, only 10% of teachers are.

“That really resonated with me,” Freid said. “I think that teaching sometimes loses its respect in the public eye; the amount of work that a teacher has to go through to ensure that all students are learning is pretty extensive, and while the medical field is very different, those doctors even got there because of teachers. I think more teachers should be board certified; maybe that would help us to receive the community and political recognition that I think teachers deserve.”

According to the national board website, certification “was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.” It allows teachers to demonstrate their dedication to their students and their profession. Teachers who have gone through this process can be eligible for rewards or raises from their state, as well. Additionally, because board-certified teachers are recognized as experts in their field, they are often sought out for leadership positions within their school or district.

“Technology and other advancements have changed society, jobs, careers, interests and the classroom over the past decades. A teacher must always look for new opportunities to bring to the students and new ways to approach material,” Freid said. “Completing the process was challenging and I have learned quite a bit about myself as an educator in the process.”

“We are so proud of Ms. Haddix and Ms. Freid for their extremely hard work and impressive accomplishment,” said Bryan Huber, assistant superintendent for Greene County Public Schools. “Research shows that students in the classrooms of nationally board certified teachers perform better, so our students will benefit from this, as well.”

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