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Baker Middle School teachers embrace "new culture"

The News Tribune reported today on Baker Middle School’s new plan to have all of its teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. It’s the first middle school to reach for a fully certified staff, and the push was teacher-initiated.

Teachers at the school talk about how going for certification helped them learn to draw students into their lessons, get students more engaged, and encourage student-to-student connections. “When I look at my students now, I feel that my students are more conversational about their work,” Armio Antonio, a newly Board Certified sixth grade teacher at Baker, told the News Tribune.

Certification involves several steps, depending on the type the teacher is looking to receive. Full board candidates videotape themselves teaching, reflect on their lessons and write a series of papers about teaching, submit a collection of student work and take a day-long test that measures what they know about the subject they teach. Take One teachers videotape themselves and submit one paper. The process is meant to be similar to that taken by doctors and lawyers, and is designed to be selective. Only about 40 percent of teachers receive certification in their first year and only 65 percent receive it after three.

Since the program for full certification began, teachers have noticed a change in their interactions with each other. Tara Edmond, the school’s instructional facilitator and a national board-certified teacher says that she has seen a difference in the teachers from the beginning of the year compared to today. “We know these teachers are looking at themselves,” she said. “Teachers are standing up taller.”

Read more about Baker Middle School’s efforts here.

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