Two Ossining teachers recently earned National Board Certification -- the teaching profession’s highest credential.
Patricia Vieira, a first and second grade English-as-a-Second-Language teacher at Brookside School, and Irene Cruz-Tierney, a first grade dual language teacher at Brookside, both received certification in November.
Like board-certified doctors and accountants, teachers who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. The process usually takes one to three years.
Participants must complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their specific area of certification. Four of those assessments are portfolio entries that combine video of the applicant in the classroom as well as examples of student work. In the portfolio entries, the teachers were expected to demonstrate how they scaffold information, work with small groups, contribute to education outside the classroom and measure student growth.
Vieira and Cruz-Tierney, both of whom completed the process in 18 months, said they pursued certification because they wanted to challenge themselves and improve their practice. Both teachers participated in a mentoring program at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, which helped them to understand what was expected and to stay on track during the process.
“National certification is a great way to learn about your own teaching style and how to improve it,” said Vieira. “It is really eye-opening to watch videos of yourself teaching; it makes you want to do more with every lesson.”
Cruz-Tierney, who has been teaching for 15 years, said the process forced her to take lessons apart and examine every aspect of her teaching in-depth.
“I’m a better teacher as a result of this certification. I’m more aware of whether the students are getting the concept I am teaching. If they are not ready to move on to the next lesson, I know how to break it down for them,” she said.
Research shows that National Board Certification not only benefits teachers, but ultimately benefits their students. According to a 2008 National Research Council report, students taught by board-certified teachers make greater gains on achievement tests than students taught by other teachers.