Boyle teacher earns national certification

December 01, 2003

A Boyle County teacher has earned National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Karen Edwards, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Boyle County Middle School since 2001, completed a rigorous process of self-reflection and performance-based assessments to demonstrate skills and professional judgment as applied daily in the classroom.

"Earning National Board Certification was a true personal and professional challenge," said Edwards.

"It was a mountain I needed to climb. God blessed me with a love for teaching. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards allowed me the opportunity to hone my skills and focus on practices that improve student learning and communication with parents. I continue to grow because of this process, and my students continue to glean rewards."

Edwards said the key was committing to work on the process every day. The process is self-guided and forces the teacher to be extremely organized and teach in an innovative and reflective manner.


Students enjoyed the video camera component of the process. "We would tape group discussions and analyze the tape looking at what they did well and what they could improve. After the laughter and nervousness subsided, students gained a lot from looking at their own performances as did I," said Edwards.

"I've been touched by how supportive our students and parents are at Boyle Middle. During the process, their successes kept me going when I thought the work was too much. When I learned that I had been certified, last year's students flooded by all day congratulating me. This was something we did together, and that kind of student involvement and caring isn't present in every middle school."

Superintendent Pam Rogers said only the most dedicated teachers volunteer to enter into the process. "I am not surprised that Karen has completed this certification, because I know she feels strongly her commitment to do the best she can for students. I hope Karen is the first of many Boyle teachers to earn national certification."

Teachers prepare a portfolio that includes videotape of their teaching, sample student products, teaching artifacts and analysis of practices, and they write answers to questions that relate to content specifics in their teaching field. Certification is issued for 10 years, after which the teacher must meet renewal requirements.

The typical candidate spends between 200 to 400 hours on the portfolio. Nearly all states provide financial incentives to teachers who enter the national certification program.

Edwards holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky and has taught language arts for 13 years. She and her husband, David, have two children, Ethan, 7, and Suzanna, 4.

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