National Board Deepens Partnership with States, Districts and the Profession to Transform Teaching and Learning

$19.4M Federal SEED Grant Will Grow Ranks of Accomplished, Board-Certified Teachers Teaching and Leading in High-Need Schools 

ARLINGTON, Va. — October 6, 2015 —The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has been awarded a $19.4-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the 2015 Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant competition. The work supported by this grant will build on the burgeoning success of Network to Transform Teaching (NT3), launched with funding from a 2013 SEED grant.

NT3 is designed to advance student learning by strengthening the structures, policies and programs that support teacher growth and development. The partners in this initiative work to dramatically increase the number of teachers who pursue Board certification and strengthen the teacher leadership systems through which Board-certified teachers spread their expertise. In the 2014-15 school year, teachers in NT3 states and districts represented more than one-third of the total national candidate population, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. Moreover, 60 percent of these candidates teach in high-need settings. The rapid climb in candidate volume in these sites is attributed to new methods for recruiting candidates by building understanding of the value for Board certification in schools and districts. In Washington state, partners are using mapping technology to ensure candidates across the state have equitable access to support. This new resource has increased the numbers of candidates in historically underrepresented geographic areas.

“This investment by the federal government accelerates progress towards the day when every student is taught by an accomplished teacher and when Board certification is the norm, as it is in other professions,” said Peggy Brookins, interim president and CEO of the National Board. “The National Board looks forward to deepening our partnerships with leading states, districts, associations, and other organizations to advance accomplished teaching and to spread the expertise of accomplished teachers.”

NT3 launched in 2014 with partners in four states, Arizona, Kentucky, New York, and Washington, and in two large urban districts, Albuquerque and San Francisco. This new grant will fund four new states with embedded district partners, Alabama, Illinois, Maryland, and North Carolina. In addition, while Albuquerque has participated in NT3 since 2013, the state of New Mexico will join through this new grant. In each site, teams are comprised of the state or local education agency, the state or local union, and a network of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs).

Across the network, partners are expressing their excitement about this opportunity.  

“It’s wonderful to see the work of the National Board being recognized in this way,” said Jimmy Adams, interim director of the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board. “Board-certified teachers understand that our profession is not one of isolation, but one of collaboration through learning communities and teacher leadership.”

Nasue Nishida, executive director of Washington-based Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession said: “This funding facilitates the continued efforts of the Washington State National Board Partners to strategically connect the dots and expand our work along the teacher continuum."

As a Networked Improvement Community, NT3 uses a structured approach to find systematic solutions to complex problems using an evidence-based process, balancing local context with nationwide applicability. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement Teaching serves as a guiding partner in this effort. Another critical partner, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), serves as the evaluation partner, sharing lessons and outcomes with the field.

Study after study has proven that the students of Board-certified teachers learn more — and the impact is greater for minority and low-income students. Most recently, a multiyear study in Washington state found that “[Board-]certified teachers are more effective than non-certified teachers with similar experience.” Their findings suggest Board-certified teachers produce gains of up to 1.5 months of additional learning.

“As an NBCT, the award of the SEED grant is validation that our efforts in San Francisco Unified are valued, supported, and encouraged to grow,” said NT3 Site Director Sara Saldana. “SEED funding will ensure we are able to continue our pursuit of the best practices to retain effective teachers; reposition teaching as a profession; improve student learning and lives; and ensure equity for students."

Nationwide, more than 110,000 teachers have achieved National Board Certification, demonstrating that they have met the profession’s standards for accomplished practice through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process. National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from Pre-K through 12th grade. Across the country, nearly half of all NBCTs work in high-need schools.