Three teachers are awarded the high standard in teaching

By Daniel Bodden

On Dec. 20, teachers Courtney Freeman, Lori Moore, and Sarah White were presented with their awards for achieving the National Board Certification. Math teacher Steve Willott also qualified his second time for the NBCT award. Other teachers in the Francis Howell District also have achieved the award after working for hours on the project. There are several more teachers currently working to achieve this prestigious status at FHN by writing long papers and submitting their students work for evaluation. (sammie savala)

“I remember I was sitting in my room with my three-year-old,” White, who was certified in English, said. “When I finally logged in and saw the results, I cried.”

The National Board Certified teachers (NBCTs) had to submit four detailed portfolios by March 31 which included reflections and videos of teaching, as well as take six tests. The process involves 400 hours of work and costs over $2,000. It can take one to three years, and NBCTs must be recertified every 10 years, which is what Steve Willott and Aaron Manfull did this year.

“I think the whole process made me look at teaching in a way I’ve never done,” Freeman, also certified in English, said. “Instead of looking at how students were doing, I was looking at what I was doing to help them achieve.”

FHN currently has 11 certified teachers. FHSD as a whole has 75 NBCTs, the most of any district in the state of Missouri.

“We are one of the larger districts in the state and in the area so that is probably part of it, but I think too that it’s the positive focus that it’s had here in Francis Howell,” Dr. Laura Brock, director of Adult Learning and Gifted Programs, said. “I think our District has that special quality of the teachers who care about what they do and want to do their best.”

The District made Joan Rigby, an FHC library media specialist, the district facilitator of NBCTs and also has already certified mentors available to teachers attempting to achieve certification. Rigby is available to assist teachers at two sessions each month at the FHC library where teachers can work on their portfolios in a quiet environment. The District also paid for new video equipment a few years ago, offers grants to pay for certification, and gives a $3,000 bonus each year to NBCTs.

“This shows that the District supports and recognizes the process as a benefit to its students,” Rigby said. “It gives so much support and pays to give help time, a quiet place, and monetary incentive.”

The new NBCTs were recognized at the Board of Education meeting on Dec. 20. They received a certificate and new ID badge as well as some gifts from the Francis Howell Education Association.

“It’s just a shining star that our teachers excel at what they do and they are honored for it,” Brock said. “We feel we have the best teachers and they’ve proven themselves by doing the next step. We’re very very proud of it.”