FORMING A NATIONAL BOARD SUPPORT GROUP
Despite National Board Certification being highly valued in North Carolina and by her district, 2012 Knowles Teaching Fellow Latoya Clay was dismayed when she realized that no teachers from her school had achieved National Board Certification in recent years. Facing a lack of funding and other structures that support preparing certification materials, several Hillside teachers tried unsuccessfully to achieve certification. Latoya and several colleagues were awarded a Seed Grant from Knowles to form a National Board support group. The Seed Grant funded release days that freed the five teachers in the group from their classroom duties, granting them time to write for their National Board submission, analyze each other’s submissions and provide feedback, and seek support from a National Board certified coach. The grant also funded a weekend retreat that allowed participants to put the finishing touches on their submissions, in ways that none had been able to accomplish on their own in previous years. Each support group member submitted all or a portion of their certification portfolio during the 2017–2018 academic year, something that hadn’t been done since district funding for supporting certification ended. The long-term goal of this group is to establish support for all teachers wishing to build the professional culture of the school through pursuit of National Board certification.