Fifty Chicago Public Schools teachers renewed their National Board Certification and 87 more have been certified for the first time with the gold standard — giving CPS the second-highest number of teachers with the national recognition.
The newly certified teachers, who come from about 70 elementary and high schools, bringing the district’s total to 2,219, second to 2,455 teachers that are in the Wake County, N.C., school district.
“National Board Certification is the highest credential a teacher can achieve,” said Lynn Cherkasky-Davis, the Chicago Teachers Union’s director of professional learning. It takes teachers anywhere from one to three years to seek certification, she said — while teaching full-time.
Melissa Tuccini, a 30-year-old physical education and health teacher at the Disney II Magnet High School, said she and the others had to turn a microscope on themselves and really think about their teaching practice. CTU mentoring and professional development began during the summer and lasted every other Saturday and every Thursday night after class.
“Their mentoring service provided hands-on professional development to guide us through,” Tuccini said.
As part of her portfolio submitted in June, she had to videotape lessons and show other kinds of evidence that her teaching was actually have an impact on students.
“I wanted to improve my teaching practice,” she said. “I wanted to get better.”
The CTU has run the program since 1997 at its Quest Center and has been partners for the last year with the district, Cherkasky-Davis said.
“Our program is so rigorous, she said. “Because of that, we have a 94 percent success rate.”
Teachers with the certification are paid an additional $1,800 a year and are expected to be mentors to struggling colleagues.
“This partnership is playing an instrumental role in helping our teachers achieve this national recognition,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “This preparation does more than help our teachers develop, it helps our students, classrooms and schools improve.”
Byrd-Bennett congratulated the teachers “for achieving the highest possible professional endorsement, which requires a profound commitment to meeting the most rigorous professional standards.”
She and CTU President Karen Lewis, who also holds National Board Certification, are expected to celebrate the new awardees in January, according to the union.