On April 3, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) hosted a forum on National Board Certified Teachers: Catalysts for Improving High Need Schools. Joe Aguerrebere, NBPTS president and CEO, discussed the challenge for NBPTS in addressing the disproportionate number of ethnic minority teachers holding the National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) credential. He shared concerns for schools that need good teachers but who were most likely not to have them. He acknowledged that the thoroughness of their process can seem overwhelming and present a barrier for some teachers. This process requires 10 assessments; four of which are portfolio submissions, and six of which are assessments of content knowledge.
In response to this challenge, NBPTS developed targeted programs to remove barriers preventing teachers from pursuing advanced certification with the support of funds from the federal government. The Direct Recruitment Efforts to Attract Minorities (DREAM) Team was established in 2005 with a specific focus on increasing the number of minority candidates seeking the NBCT credential. By engaging in targeted, direct recruiting activities combined with on-site supports for candidates, NBPTS has seen a 41 percent increase in the number of minority candidates. The Targeted High-Need Initiative (THNI) offers two options for teachers in high-need, high-poverty urban and rural schools to pursue NBPTS certification. The Full Certification approach is implemented in partnership with local organizations such as higher education institutions, foundations and unions to provide the infrastructure and supports teachers in high-need schools require to complete the program. The federal dollars provided through NBPTS combined with additional resources from partners help remove the barriers to participation by funding application fees, training for candidate mentors, materials, food, transportation expenses and even child care expenses so that teachers can participate.
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