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Appalachian leads nation in number of alumni teachers who become National Board Certified

View larger imageBOONE – Appalachian State University leads the nation in the number of alumni who became National Board Certified teachers in 2011, according to information released this month by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Of this year’s 6,266 teachers across the nation who achieved certification through NBPTS, a total of 1,244 are in North Carolina and 130 graduated from Appalachian.

There are now 97,291 board certified teachers nationwide, representing about 3 percent of the national teaching force. North Carolina is the nation’s top producer of board certified teachers, with a total of 19,193.

Certification through NBPTS is the highest credential available to American educators. Its performance-based assessment of a teacher’s pedagogical skills and content knowledge takes up to three years to complete.

“The NBPTS process is rigorous and has high expectations. That as many teachers from Appalachian State University and from the state engage in this activity is a testament to their commitment to teaching in general and to continued growth in their professional careers,” said Dr. Charles R. Duke, dean of Appalachian’s Reich College of Education.

“Teachers express great pride in receiving their NBPTS licensure and with good reason. In particular, they appreciate the opportunity to reflect deeply on their teaching and its impact on their students and say that one of the real benefits of the process is the challenge to do this reflection; the result often is further development and refinement of instructional strategies,” Duke said.

This is the first time the NBPTS has released a list of the nation’s top 50 alma maters for national board certified teachers. Other North Carolina schools on the list for 2011 are East Carolina University at No. 2, UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro tied at No. 7, N.C. State at No. 14, UNC Charlotte at No. 18, UNC Wilmington at No. 20, Western Carolina at No. 22 and Meredith College at No. 27.

North Carolina’s 1,244 new national board certified teachers represent a 6.9 percent increase from last year.

A strong motivating factor for North Carolina teachers to achieve NBPTS certification is the state’s 12 percent increase in salary to board certified teachers, according to Duke. He added that faculty at Appalachian make a point to encourage their best students to pursue certification sometime during their careers.

The N.C. school districts with the most board certified teachers are Wake County Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Guilford County Schools, Forsyth County Schools and Buncombe County Schools.

While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, board certified teachers have demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. NBPTS certification identifies qualified teachers as leaders in their field, much like the certifications earned by experts in law and medicine. Completion of NBPTS’s National Board Certification process signifies that the certificated teachers have developed and demonstrated the skills required of a true education professional.

According to NBPTS, a recent comprehensive study by the nonpartisan National Research Council found that students taught by board certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by other teachers. In fact, improved student learning and achievement are two key benefits of the programs and services provided through NBPTS. The organization is also impacting education nationwide through additional professional development programs for school leaders, research and development on education policy and practices and through strategic partnerships with other organizations seeking to improve America’s schools.

View more details of the NBPTS’s Class of 2011 at