Earlier this month, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the largest one-year gain of educators achieving National Board Certification since its inception.
The number of teachers gaining certification this year rose by 8,491 - an 8.6 percent increase from 2006. Currently, 63,821 have achieved this distinction.
"National Board Certification is a certificate that teachers can pursue that indicates that they have exceptional skills in the field of teaching," said Donald Dunnigan, Newton County School System associate superintendent for human resources.
National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program established in 1987 by the NBPTS designed to recognize and reward exceptional teachers and make them better.
Through an application process that typically takes one to three years, teachers build a portfolio including student work samples, assignments, videotapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching.
"The system likes to have teachers seeking the certification," Dunnigan said, "but many choose not to pursue this certification because it is very time consuming and an intense process to complete."
Certification is valid for 10 years, after which teachers must apply for and meet all requirements for renewal.
Newton County Schools currently employs 28 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). Georgia has the 18th most NBCTs with 2,325.
The NBPTS reports the number of NBCTs has tripled since 2002 and the number of NBCTs who earned literacy: reading/language arts certificates tripled since 2004.