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posted: 1/15/2010 12:01 AM

Five U-46 teachers get National Board Certification

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By Kerry Lester

Five more Elgin Area School District U-46 teachers have reached the top of the professional ladder.

Julie Isham from Willard Elementary School, Joann Knaack from Elgin High School, Rebecca Narofsky from Sheridan Elementary and Susana Rodriguez from Huff Elementary and Lori Schultz from Hillcrest Elementary were all recently named National Board Certified Teachers.

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National Board Certification is not easy to obtain, and it isn't cheap.

The certification process, which involves one to three years of work on a teaching portfolio and a passing score on an exit exam, requires teachers to demonstrate how their activities, both inside and outside the classroom, improve student achievement.

The cost is $2,565.

While a very small percent of the nation's teachers have earned the certification status, the number in Illinois is steadily growing.

Including U-46's five, 732 Illinois teachers earned national board certification last fall, up from, 703 Illinois teachers from 2008.

In 2008, the National Research Council found that students taught by national board-certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by those who have not applied for and those who did not achieve certification. The report called it "unclear" whether the certification process led to higher quality teaching.

Another study, conducted by the University of Washington in 2004, found students of national board-certified teachers scored 7 to 15 percentage points higher on year-end tests than students of noncertified teachers. Certification was particularly effective with minority students.

"I commend these teachers for attaining National Board Certification. I believe in the importance of this certification and I look forward to having many more U-46 teachers seeking it," U-46 Superintendent José Torres, said in a district news release.

The district now has a total of 32 certified teachers.

U.S. Senate Youth Program: The Illinois State Board of Education announced in a Tuesday news release that Hayley Jones of Yorkville High School in Yorkville Consolidated Unit School District 15 and Sidanth Sapru of the Aurora-based Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy were named delegates to the 48th U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. March 6-13.

Just two students are selected from each state to attend the intensive weeklong program, which aims to educate participants about American political politics and instill a commitment to public service.

While in Washington, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with congress, the supreme court, members of the President's cabinet, and the President himself. Congratulations!

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