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Eight Island teachers earn National Board Certification

More than 900 Washington teachers earned National Board Certification in 2008, eight of whom work on Mercer Island. In total, 919 teachers across the state earned this reputable title, doubling the 2007 record of 485.

This count, released last month by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, places Washington state third in the nation in new National Board-certified teachers, behind only Florida and North Carolina. Mercer Island teachers Kerry Chew, Susan Hamp, Jesse Jaramillo, Curtis Johnston, Edward Puchalla, Thelma Ritchie, Janice Vetter and David Willecke help make up Washington’s high number for 2008. In total, the Mercer Island School District boasts 21 teachers with certification.

“We have encouraged and supported our teachers in obtaining their National Board Certification. They have worked hard and will be duly recognized by our School Board soon,” said Superintendent Gary Plano.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Mercer Island provides more support for teachers pursuing National Board Certification than any other district in Washington. With help from the PTA and Schools Foundation, teachers are reimbursed for their National Board application fees, released from class to complete the required exams, and supported in various other ways.

Certification is a year-long process that requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom, evaluated by overall student performance. The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers.

Legislation passed in 2007 awards a $5,000 bonus to each certified teacher.

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