Teachers earn national certification

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 3:26 p.m.
Three teachers from east Gainesville schools are among 31 Alachua County Public School teachers to be awarded national certification, considered the gold standard for the teaching profession.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced recently that Michelle Edwards of Williams Elementary School, Jason Hill of Duval Elementary School and Alice Iwinski of Eastside High School have earned national certification this school year.
The prestigious certification is the teaching profession's highest credential and is recognized at both the state and federal level as a strong indicator of teacher quality.
"Certification is proof that these teachers are among the highest-quality teachers in the nation," said Superintendent Dan Boyd. "We are very proud of their accomplishment."
Certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes nearly a year to complete, and sometimes even longer.
Through the assessment process, teachers document knowledge of their subject matter, provide evidence that they are teaching their students effectively and demonstrate their ability to manage and measure their student's progress.
Hill, who teaches second grade, earned his certification in early childhood education. He says going through the certification process has made him a better teacher.
"It makes you reflect on everything you're doing," he said. "I find I'm putting more thought into each child's individual needs and abilities."
Edwards, who is also a second grade teacher, earned her certification in literacy for early and middle childhood. She's been teaching for 10 years, four of them at Williams Elementary. She, too, says the experience has helped her consider more carefully the things she's doing in the classroom.
"I had to think about my teaching practices and why I do the things I do," she said. "I've added things to my classroom that I hadn't done previously, and I've refined a lot of the things I was doing before to make them more meaningful for my students.
The teachers who have earned certification are now eligible for a bonus of more than $4,000 and can earn an additional bonus by serving as mentors for other teachers. Those bonuses are funded by the state.

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