Chris Schulz Published

Teachers Preparing To Improve Professional Certification

Wooden classroom desks in close up with no students.Adobe Stock

The West Virginia Department of Education is hosting professional development sessions in Bridgeport through July 13 to help teachers prepare for National Board Certification.

National Board Certification is the highest certification available in K-12 education and can take up to five years to complete. 

“This is a voluntary process that a teacher who has experience chooses to go through to demonstrate their practice,” said Carla Warren, officer of the Division of Educator Development and Support at the West Virginia Department of Education. “They demonstrate their ability to understand their content, they then demonstrate their ability to know students well and the needs of students. It demonstrates their content knowledge and their pedagogical knowledge and the art of teaching. It demonstrates their ability to be an accomplished teacher.”

Warren said more than a decade of research supports the impact that a National Board Certified teacher has on their students, particularly those of low SES, or socioeconomic status.

“For our rural, low SES students here in Appalachia, this has the ability to make a tremendous impact on our students,” Warren said. “The fact that this is a voluntary certification speaks to the dedication and commitment of our teachers. Anytime that we can strengthen our teaching force, we are strengthening our student achievement.” 

West Virginia currently ranks 13th in the nation for the percentage of National Board Certified Teachers per capita. Warren said this is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the state has been able to offer this preparation to teachers in person.

“We’re very excited. We have about 50 participants in Bridgeport this week. We were in Charleston last month and had about 60 participants,” she said. “These individuals who have chosen to come and participate are learning about the process and actually starting the process towards National Board Certification.”

Warren said West Virginia is one of only 29 states that provides additional compensation to a teacher who has achieved national board certification, and one of only 24 states that reimburses all of the fees associated with this certification. 

“The legislature provides a $3,500 salary stipend per year for the life of the certification,” she said. “In addition, most of our counties provide an additional stipend. By pursuing national board certification, some of these teachers will be able to increase their salaries up to $7,000 each year, based on where they live in the state.”