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Teachers Receive Prestigious National Certification

Three teachers in the West Central School District have successfully achieved the coveted National Board Certification.

"West Central Elementary Teachers Chris Wright, Jesse Winters and Laura Lewis last week received confirmation of their certification, "said District #235 Superintendent Ralph Grimm.

"The process of applying for certification is a tremendous undertaking, and it is a real honor for our district to have these three teachers achieve this status." said Grimm. "District 235 now has five National Board Certified Teachers which is an outstanding accomplishment for a district our size."

The certification is granted by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. "Like board-certified doctors and accountants, teachers who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review," according to the NBPTS. "In a congressionally-mandated study, National Board Certification was recently recognized by the National Research Council as having a positive impact on student achievement, teacher retention, and professional development."

There are 25 particular certificates granted, covering a variety of specific content areas and student developmental levels.

Ms. Laura Lewis, of Gladstone, received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Monmouth College. Ms. Lewis received her Master's Degree in 2007 in Reading and Literacy from Walden University.

She has taught for 10 years. Ms. Lewis taught Middle School and Elementary Special Education in the Union School District, and has taught elementary Special Education in the West Central School District. Her national certification is in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy, Reading and Language Arts.

She has four children, Mike and Mary who are in college and Tom and Andy who are students at West Central High School.

Mrs. Chris Wright, of Burlington, IA, also is a graduate of Western Illinois University, earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 1993.

She has taught for more than 16 years, first at Southern School District and most recently second grade at West Central. Her national certification is Early Childhood Generalist.

She and her husband, Bill, have two children, Billy who is a college student and Cody who is an 8th grade student at James Madison.

Mrs. Jesse Winters, of Stronghurst, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 2003 from Western Illinois University. She received her Masters Degree in Science in 2007 from Walden University in Reading and Literacy.

Mrs. Winters has taught for 9 years. Mrs. Winters taught for two years in the Southern School District and has taught for 7 years in the West Central School District. Her national certification is in the area of Early and Middle Childhood Literacy, Reading and Language Arts.

Mrs. Winters and her husband Chris have 3 children; Landon, Lauren and Liam.

The NBPTS has certified more than 82,000 teachers since 1987. The standards upon which teachers achieve National Board Certification are based on five core propositions: Teachers are committed to students and their learning; teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students; teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning; teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience; and teachers are members of learning communities.

Candidates complete 10 assessments that are peer reviewed by other teachers in their areas of certification, including four portfolio entries that address teaching practice and six "constructed response exercises" demonstrating content knowledge.

Once achieved, certification is valid for 10 years; renewal candidates must begin the renewal process in their 8th or 9th year as NBC teachers.

"I'm sure everyone in the district joins me in congratulating Chris, Jesse and Laura for this accomplishment," said Superintendent Grimm. "For a district our size to have five teachers recognized like this is a real testament to the quality of education students are receiving at West Central."

The teachers will be publicly recognized at the December 20, 2011, Board of Education meeting.

CUTLINE: West Central School District #235 teachers Laura Lewis, left, Jesse Winters, middle, and Chris Wright, right, have received National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).