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Having Fierce Conversations with Kids Matters
Jill Downs, NBCTNovember 11, 2019

While the term “fierce” may seem a little harsh, it got your attention.  I’ve served as a teacher and literacy coach for years — and in those years, I’ve always had engaging and honest conversations with my students.  Teachers do that. They care. They talk to their kids. I believe educators should set out to grow the whole child and teach responsively.   I do focus on my subject matter, but getting to know my kids through a variety of means enables me to connect with students and help them grow, academically and personally. Kid watching, recording observations, anecdotal notes, reflective…

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Positivity for Pessimists: How I Climbed Out of An Unhappy Hole and Found My Dark Humor Happy Place
Jennifer Leban, NBCTNovember 6, 2019

It all started out of boredom. I’ve worked in the same building for 18 years. I work in the same building where I student taught. I teach the same grade levels. For a few years, I was able to entertain myself by designing new lessons and projects, but even that grew stale quickly. So when a new position opened up within the district, I knew that it was meant for me! I applied, interviewed, and eagerly awaited the phone call letting me know that I’d gotten the job. But that’s not what happened. Although I was absolutely crushed, I used…

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When My School Votes…
John King Jr.November 4, 2019

In the last midterm election, young people voted at record rates, and that is something we should all celebrate. However, even with this historic turnout, two-thirds of young people were missing from the polls. As we work to close opportunity gaps for the most underserved students in our nation, we must also work to close voting gaps if we’re to secure a better future for generations to come. To achieve this goal, at an early age, our children must develop civic knowledge and skills, as well as an appreciation for engaged citizenship. This means that all children must have access…

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Missing the Mark: An Unexpected Journey
Tammy Kirkland, NBCTOctober 31, 2019

Blog, they say. Not a problem because I love writing. Write about not certifying the first time…my pen stops, my heart quickens not because I do not have anything to say but because there are so many emotions and so many things to say. Scores will be released soon; perhaps they already have been by the time you are reading this. I have been on all possible sides of this equation: candidate and candidate support provider; my perspective is manufactured and tailored by the best teacher of all, experience. Let’s start with why I did not certify on my first…

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Teachers Aren’t Soldiers
Tony Zani, NBCTOctober 18, 2019

I am a National Board Certified Teacher and a ten-year veteran of the United States Army. Two things I know well are education and weapons. Let’s not mix them. There are companies that offer concealed carry permit classes to teachers. Politicians across the country have expressed that armed teachers are a good way to stop school shootings. Some even suggest paying teachers a stipend for getting weapons training and carrying a gun at school. In my time in the Army, I spent an extraordinary amount of time learning to accurately fire a weapon in all sorts of stressful situations. It’s…

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Inside the Story
Ben Lathrop, NBCTOctober 8, 2019

The students in my International Baccalaureate Literature and Performance class recently read “The Bean Eaters,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks about an elderly, very ordinary married couple who share meager meals and memories: They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair. Dinner is a casual affair. Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware. Two who are Mostly Good. Two who have lived their day, But keep on putting on their clothes And putting things away. And remembering . . . Remembering, with twinklings and twinges, As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that…

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Why Latinx NBCTs Matter, Today, This month, and Always
L. Julianna Urtubey, NBCTOctober 4, 2019

Hip-hop artist and educator, Olmeca, wrote a poem called, “They Migrate, We Graduate.” Those four words accurately captured so many of our experiences as Latinx, bicultural-bilingual-binational students and now, just as importantly, as teachers. Our families, just like our students’ families, prioritized our future possibilities and opportunities over many times, their own comfort. When I see my students, I see myself. When I see their families, I see my family. Representation matters. Latinx students make up approximately 30% of our national student population and in many areas across the country, they make up greater than 50% of the population. The…

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Delivering on our promise of equitable education
Claudia Ladd, NBCTSeptember 20, 2019

Fall is in the air and school playgrounds are hubs of activity where teams are formed and games are played. Imagine one hundred children lined up ready and excited to play. Immediately sixty are benched, and only forty are allowed to play. We would never allow this on the playground; however, this is what is occurring daily in Literacy instruction. This scenario mirrors our Early Literacy scores, which show that while forty percent of fourth-graders score proficient, barely twenty percent of historically or underserved Black and Hispanic do. Team Literate vs Team illiterate; this inequity impacts lives and silence voices.…

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Connecting with other NBCTs provides the support that Teacher Leaders Need
Jennifer Dines, NBCTSeptember 4, 2019

Like many National Board Certified Teachers, I am proud to say that I serve in multiple teacher leadership roles in my school and within our district. My most demanding responsibility is serving as the leader of our school’s brand new Literacy Committee. Our school-wide instructional goal for the 2018-19 school year was to increase the number of grade-level readers in our building. And we did – increasing from 2.7% of students reading at grade level to 21.3%. This accomplishment took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears; our team was allotted 25 paid hours throughout the year to analyze data,…

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Who are American Muslims?
Chris Murray, NBCTJuly 30, 2019

Since achieving National Board certification in adolescent social studies several years ago, I have felt a need to continue to educate myself and lead in my specific passion — religious literacy. One religious community that continues to face alarming amounts of discrimination in and out of the classroom is the American Muslim population. This summer I was fortunate enough to be selected by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding to serve as one of their educators. ISPU conducts objective, solution-seeking research that empowers American Muslims to develop their community and fully contribute to democracy and pluralism in the United…

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