Monday, March 14, 2011

Two Washougal School District teachers earn National Board Certification

Washougal School District teachers Bryn Scamahorn, Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School, and Heather Carver, Washougal High School, earned National Board certification this school year.

Certification requires the candidate to be affiliated with a local university or an approved service provider for a lengthy study of advanced teaching strategies and the collection of classroom evidence demonstrating the candidate’s acquisition of research-based instructional skills. To be certified, the candidate submits for review an extensive portfolio of written work, including videotapes and candidate’s own analysis of his/her own classroom teaching against research-based standards of pedagogy. Finally, the candidate must take a proctored written examination in their endorsed content field. A national panel of peers then uses the certification standards to assess the candidate’s portfolio and written examination results. Candidates are known to complete the process in a year, but it may take as long as three years to acquire certification.

Both Scamahorn and Carver completed their National Boards in spring 2010 and received certification in November.
When asked why she decided to pursue National Board Certification, Scamahorn answers, “I felt that as a music teacher with my master's degree, it offered me the best opportunity to further my music education skills through specific music pedagogy, reflection, and skill building.”

Both Scamahorn and Carver described the process as a challenging one.

“The process was difficult in how revealing and confronting it was,” said Scamahorn. “Through the processes of reflection and video taping, I was able to see the good, and the weaker practices in my own teaching. Since going through the process, I have spent more time in reflection and planning guiding my teaching. It has made me a stronger teacher exponentially,” said Scamahorn.

WHS teacher Heather Carver calls the process a “thorough” one, which “focused on major analysis of teaching practices, the impetus behind the classroom action, and also analysis of results to better adjust teaching in the classroom.”

“It reminded me of coaching athletes and breaking down the skills,” said Carver, who also coaches at WHS.

“Through the process, I looked carefully at what I do in the classroom and questioned why I do it,” said Carver. “I looked at different ways and angles to teach a concept to diverse learners, and I also looked at numerous ways to bring diversity into the classroom. The process requires you to analyze your current practices. The fantastic byproduct of this reflection and self-analysis is indeed adjustment and improvement, which is how the process improves teaching skills.”

“I am extremely proud of the work that I have done for the program,” said Carver. “I look forward to continually trying to improve and hone my skills in and out of the classroom, and I am proud of Washougal School District for their support of the National Boards.”