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    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth

For Release: December 2, 2004

Thirty-two New Jersey Teachers Earn National Certification


Thirty-two New Jersey teachers achieved national certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2003-04, the national board has reported. Commissioner of Education William L. Librera hailed the announcement, noting that greater numbers of educators throughout New Jersey are willing to participate in a rigorous process that leads to the teaching profession's highest honor.

"With this announcement, we now have 100 nationally certified teachers in New Jersey," Commissioner Librera said. "Although this number is lower than we'd like to see it, more New Jersey teachers completed the process this year than in any previous year.

"Maintaining and enhancing the quality of New Jersey teachers continues to be among the most important efforts we can pursue to improve student learning and our schools," Dr. Librera said.

"We at the National Board are tremendously pleased that the number of National Board Certified Teachers is increasing so dramatically in New Jersey," said Joseph A. Aguerrebere, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. "Study after study demonstrates that NBCTs improve student learning in their classrooms."

"National research continues to demonstrate that one of the best ways to improve schools and student learning is to strengthen teaching," said Dana Egreczky, vice president, Workforce Development at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and president of the Business Coalition for Educational Excellence (BCEE). "By completing this rigorous assessment program, these teachers have attained one of the highest distinctions of excellence in teaching. We're truly proud of their accomplishments."

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are classroom teachers. Their mission is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by: maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do, providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers.

NBPTS is the only organization of its kind that helps states identify and certify highly accomplished teachers. National Board Certification is used as a way to attract, reward and retain highly accomplished teachers as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

National certification is achieved by completing a rigorous qualification process that takes between 200 and 400 hours to complete, over the course of one or more years. Teachers must complete an extensive series of performance-based assessments that probe the depth of their subject matter knowledge as well as their ability to manage, measure and improve student learning.

In June 2003, the Governor, the Department of Education, the BCEE and several New Jersey colleges established a professional development package to support candidates for National Board Certification through state subsidies and graduate credits. Encouraging and supporting an increased number of candidates for national teacher certifications is one of the state's goals in education.

BCEE, with the support of several corporate partners, created a recruitment and mentoring program for teachers interested in working toward certification. The program, called the National Board Network, is a service that links mentor teachers who have already achieved national board certification with teachers seeking certification. Through this program and ongoing recruitment efforts, the number of New Jersey applicants for national certification and New Jersey's passing rate for national teaching certificates have increased. BCEE at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring that all students achieve at high levels, become productive citizens, and are well-prepared to succeed in the workplace.

Attached is a list of the 32 New Jersey teachers who were nationally certified in 2003-04. Included among them is Peggy Stewart of Vernon Township High School, New Jersey's 2004 Teacher of the Year.