National Board partners with states, districts and the profession to transform teaching and learning

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has been awarded a $15-million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the 2013 Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant competition. The work supported by the grant will result in many more students being taught by accomplished teachers who have achieved National Board Certification and will create new opportunities for these teachers to serve in instructional leadership roles in high-need schools. Through labor-management partnerships, the work will take place in four states, Kentucky, Nevada, New York and Washington, and in two large urban districts, Albuquerque and San Francisco.

“To elevate teaching and learning for all students, accomplished teachers must be working where they can make the greatest difference,” said Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board. “National Board Certified Teachers have a passion for teaching and the proven ability to improve student learning. For teaching to be recognized as a true profession, it must be forged by accomplished practitioners.”

The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are key partners supporting the National Board’s planned work.

“In May 2012 in Cincinnati, labor and management leaders made history by signing a shared vision statement to ‘create a profession that attracts great people into our schools and classrooms—and keeps them in the profession,’” said NEA PresidentDennis Van Roekel. “As a signatory, I am especially pleased that the National Board is putting those words into action in this groundbreaking initiative.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “National Board Certified Teachers serving students in high-need schools can help our nation ensure that our children are ready for college, career and life—but it must be done in a systematic way. That's what this initiative aims to do and it has a great chance to succeed because it includes teacher voice and builds on plans already in place in schools and districts.”

The six site partners in this initiative will form a virtual “Networked Improvement Community” (NIC) to set shared goals and develop strategies to address common problems, while sharing progress and best practices. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement Teaching will serve as a guiding partner in this effort. Another critical partner, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), will serve as the evaluation partner and share lessons and outcomes with the field.

“It is the social connections that exist in structured networks that can advance the diffusion of improvements in education,” said Carnegie Foundation President Anthony S. Bryk. “I am excited to apply this approach to address one of the fundamental issues of our time—inequity in education—by guiding many organizations and approaches toward the common goal of making certain that every student benefits from accomplished teachers.”

The broad coalition of partners represent labor and management in education at the national, state, and district levels. Leaders of six organizations will serve on the advisory board, including: AFT, NEA, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Council of Great City Schools , the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

“Across the country, districts are struggling with the challenge of staffing high-need schools with highly effective teachers, even as they work to implement priorities such as STEM instruction, the Common Core and new teacher evaluation systems,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools. “This initiative addresses both sides of the coin by attracting more teachers who are highly effective and providing them with opportunities to lead the way in this important work.”

“The importance of having accomplished teachers in classrooms across the country has never been more important,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). “Teachers are the most important factor in the success of students. This grant begins the process of ensuring that every student in the United States has access to a great teacher every year.”

Research has shown that National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) have a significant impact on student achievement and that their students outperform peers in other classrooms. A 2012 study by Harvard University’s Strategic Data Project found that students of NBCTs in the Los Angeles Unified School District made learning gains equivalent to an additional two months of instruction in math and one month in English Language Arts.

Nationwide, more than 102,000 teachers have achieved National Board Certification, demonstrating that they have met the profession’s standards for accomplished practice through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process. National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from Pre-K through 12th grade. Across the country, nearly half of all NBCTs work in high-need schools.

About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (

The mission of the National Board is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching and leading, and engaging National Board Certified Teachers and leaders in that process.