Evanston/Skokie School District 65 teachers Nancy Alexander of Nichols Middle School and Jean Luft of Dawes Elementary School have successfully completed the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) process.

They join eleven other District 65 teachers who have completed this voluntary national certification program.

Superintendent Hardy Murphy praised the two for completing the intensive study process, which he said would benefit their students.

Alexander is a 20-year veteran teacher in District 65.  She’s spent most of her teaching career at Nichols where she teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Spanish.  She selected Early Adolescent to Young Adult English as a New Language as her area of study for national certification.  In describing the intensity of the national board certification process, Ms. Alexander compared it to “telescoping Master’s coursework and thesis into ten months.”

Luft, a 15-year veteran teacher in District 65 described her 14-month study as “intense but rewarding.”  She explained that it involved submitting a four-entry portfolio, completing videotapes of her teaching, and six essay assessments.   She said the process is “one of the few times a teacher is reviewed by her peers.” Luft, who teaches kindergarten, earned certification as an Early Childhood Generalist.

National Board Certification offers standards for evaluating and encouraging quality teaching. According to NBPTS, National Board Certification is the most prestigious credential a teacher can earn. It is an intensive process of study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.

Unlike state certification that is required for teachers, national certification is a voluntary assessment program. To become nationally board certified, a teacher must successfully demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices.

Certification is achieved through performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete.

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