The Nevada Department of Education recently funded a new program under Senate Bill 474 to support national board certification and teacher leadership. The funding, which provides more than $700,000 over two years, will be used as part of the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute: Empowering Teachers as Leaders and Learners, a newly developed program intended to create a statewide model for national board teacher professional learning and development.
Leadership for the Institute is provided by Program Directors Tonia Holmes-Sutton and Katie Dockweiler, as well as an Advisory Council to serve as a critical thought partner and to conceptually guide strategic initiatives.
"This program is designed not only to increase the current number of National Board-Certified Teachers in Nevada, but also to provide teachers with professional learning and support that will allow them to better address the needs of their students," Lindsay Diamond, University assistant professor of special education and external evaluator for the Institute, said.
There are currently 637 national board-certified teachers in Nevada, making up approximately three percent of the total number of teachers in the state. The National Board Institute hopes to increase these numbers by providing a statewide model, equitably serving rural areas as well as urban teachers, and by supporting teachers across the teaching career continuum.
"The Institute is strategically targeting the high-needs domains of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), English as a new language, and exceptional needs (special education) to provide students access to accomplished teachers in these domains," Dockweiler said.
The National Board Institute is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with education and community partners including the Public Education Foundation; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; National Board Network to Transform Teaching; Nevada State Education Association; National Education Association; Northwestern Regional Professional Development Program; Nevada Succeeds; Nevada Department of Education; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Nevada State College and University of Nevada, Reno.
"National Board Certification is typically an endeavor that teachers have to pay for themselves, though, in Nevada, they do receive an annual 5 percent salary incentive once board certified," Holmes-Sutton, said. "As part of this new grant, teachers will receive reimbursement scholarships if they go through the National Board Institute."
In order to achieve National Board Certification, teachers must complete four Component portfolios framed in the National Board Accomplished Teaching Body of Knowledge (BoK: The Five Core Propositions and the National Board Standards). Total cost of National Board Certification is $1,900.00 with each component costing $475. The National Board Institute will reimburse up to two Components a year for teachers seeking Board Certification.
Holmes-Sutton estimates the National Board Institute will impact approximately 250-300 teachers and 20-30 administrators through June 2019 with the intent to increase impact each year thereafter.
"This is a really positive opportunity for teachers to engage in a personalized learning opportunity," Diamond said. "We are uniquely poised to provide this learning opportunity, framed within the National Board Accomplished Teaching BoK: The Five Core Propositions and the National Board Standards."
Teachers wanting more information can visit the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute website.