Teacher earns profession#039;s top credential

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

Top-notch actors take home Oscars.

Great writers win the Pulitzer Prize.

And outstanding educators earn their profession's highest credential when they achieve National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

That's just the achievement accomplished in 2006 by a Greenville High School math teacher, Linda Jarzyniecki. &#8220Mrs. J.,” as she is affectionately called by her students, is a 20-year veteran of the classroom. She has been teaching at GHS since 1999.

Jarzyniecki is one of 169 teachers in Alabama and 7,700 teachers nationwide who achieved National Board Certification in 2006.

It is no easy task to achieve this goal.

&#8220Earning National Board Certification was a process that took a lot of time and effort. It's an important achievement for me personally,” Jarzyniecki said.

The educator, who teaches Algebra II with Trigonometry, Algebra II, Precalculus and AP Calculus, had to successfully complete four portfolios and six exams in the subject area.

&#8220Two portfolios require videotaping whole class and small class discussions. Another involves the comparison and contrast of two students and how your practice has encouraged them to reach their potential,” Jarzyniecki explained.

In addition, a fourth portfolio about one's documented accomplishments and how those accomplishments have strengthened students' abilities and learning capabilities is required, the teacher said.

&#8220We also have to submit sample of our students' work. Everything written has to document the integration of the 12 standards of math as well as the five philosophies, which are: 1, teachers are committed to students and their learning; 2, teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach them to their students; 3, teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning; 4, teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience and 5, teachers are members of learning communities.”

According to NBPTS President and CEO, Joseph Aguerrebere, the vast majority of research indicates National Board Certified Teachers like Jarzyniecki &#8220make a significantly measurable impact on teacher performance and student learning, engagement and achievement.”

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and hundreds of individual school districts across the nation recognize National Board Certification as a mark of distinction and have implemented policies and regulations to recruit, reward and retain NBCTs.

Jarzyniecki believes her accomplishment will benefit both teacher and learner.

&#8220When you have NBCTs on staff, the community should rest assured the students are receiving high-quality instruction from teachers who value education at the highest level, who know how to teach to every child, and who want each child to achieve success in their classroom so they can become life-long learners,” Jarzyniecki said.

&#8220As a NBCT, I continuously vary my methodology to meet the needs of my students. You never stop thinking about your practice and how to improve it. Better teachers improve the professionalism of their schools by guiding and encouraging their peers to excel in the teaching profession.”

While it was a rigorous process to obtain the certification, the GHS teacher deems all her efforts well worth it.

&#8220I chose to subject myself to a tough challenge in order to prove my goals are still what they should be: to raise student achievement and improve student instruction. I hope I can become a leader and a catalyst in my own community of learners to help my peers achieve National Board Certification, too.”

GHS Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy is equally proud of her faculty member's accomplishment.

&#8220Mrs. Jarzyniecki is an outstanding educator and she does a marvelous job with our students. Having her earn this certification certainly reflects well on our faculty and their determination to be the best classroom teachers they can be,” Murphy said.

Jarzyniecki said there are other faculty members at GHS who are working on National Boards. &#8220I know, with encouragement and collaboration, they will reach NB status in the near future.”

She also expresses appreciation to those who supported her own efforts.

&#8220Without the help of collaborating teachers encouraging me, filming my classes and critiquing my writing, I could not have reached my goal. I would like to thank them for all their help. As our county's educational motto says, I will do ‘whatever it takes' to help them reach their goals, too.”

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-governmental organization, governed by a board of directors, most of whom are classroom teachers themselves. Its mission is to establish high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. For more information about NBPTS, visit http://www.nbpts.org.