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Four Valley teachers earn national certification

It took a year and a half of work, and months of waiting, for four Snoqualmie Valley School District teachers to gain a major career milestone.

Mount Si High School’s Christine Kjenner and Tracy Petroske, Snoqualmie Middle School’s Ruth Huschle and Chief Kanim Middle School’s Meghan James were certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

To get national certification teachers must meet rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.

The teachers began the process in May 2007. Last year, they implemented complex sets of teaching standards. They compiled portfolios requiring detailed analysis and reflection about their practice, and clear and convincing documentation and evidence including video, visual and student work. They described and verified myriad types of professional achievements in collaboration, communication and professional development. They sat for six written assessments of their knowledge of content and methodology, each in their own areas of certification.

The four join three other Valley school staff, Gayle Smith, Gerald Bopp and John Pinsker, as national board certified teachers. John Pinsker and Gayle Smith lead a group of 15 teachers progressing toward certification. That group is working with the support of the University of Washington, and includes 10 elementary teachers, four middle school science teachers and one high school math teacher. Earning certification benefits teachers and school districts, but the main benefactors are students. Research has shown significant achievement of students whose teachers are national board certified. School and districts benefit through the increase in percentage of teachers designated as “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind act.

Teachers benefit personally, as well. Washington state has committed an annual stipend of $5,000.

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