WHITE MOUNTAINS — Arizona tends to rank near the bottom in the nation when it comes to areas of education. However, the state ranks closer to the top when it comes to National Board Certified Teachers.

Arizona is ranked 9th in the country for new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) and 18th for the total number of NBCTs. Recently, Arizona held their annual Celebration of Teaching gala where they inducted 81 new NBCTs. Arizona now has a total of 1,538 teachers statewide who have achieved National Board Certification. Closer to home, Apache County currently has six NBCTs and Navajo County currently has three NBCTs with three more in the process.

NBCTs are very reflective about their teaching. “Educators should be the experts in the classrooms,” shares National Board Candidate Chris Jones (Show Low District). “In order to do that, we need to continue to learn, reflect, and adjust to best meet the needs of our students. I want to be just that — the best educator I can be simply because my students deserve it.”

Whiteriver teacher and National Board Candidate Sierra Collins maintains that “My instruction is changing because I am being more direct and intentional in my instruction.”

While the benefits to the teachers range from district to district (5% pay increase, $2,000 annual bonus, etc.), the impact is evidenced in the students. Students of National Board Certified Teachers gained an average of 1-2 months additional instruction compared to their peers in other classrooms. The impact was even greater in low-resource schools (nbpts.org). “Students of National Board Certified Teachers demonstrated evidence of deeper learning nearly three times more frequently than their peers,” (nbpts.org).

The process to become National Board Certified is very rigorous and can take multiple years to complete. The Arizona K12 Center and the Navajo County Education Service Agency are supporting local teachers as they work towards certification. Support includes: institutes in the summer, monthly support meetings and webinars.

“We want to help districts attract, support, and retain qualified teachers in our area,” states Susan Rodriguez, Navajo County Education Specialist and National Board Certified Teacher.

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