Retaining teachers through National Board Certification
The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) recently released its South Carolina Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report for the 2017-18 school year. The report concluded that more public school teachers are leaving their classrooms, resulting in more vacancies and a need for more teachers to fill those vacancies. South Carolina’s colleges and universities also are producing fewer teachers. With more teachers leaving their positions each year and fewer entering the profession, teacher retention is an important consideration for the state.
CERRA also has released a study on the retention of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). The state’s teacher turnover rates were compared to turnover rates of South Carolina NBCTs over a five-year period. The most recent data available are from the 2016-17 school year. Specifically, these data represent the rates of teachers who were teaching in a SC public school district in 2015-16, but not teaching in any SC public school district in 2016-17. The SC teacher turnover rate for the 2016-17 school year was 7.7%, yet only 1.9% for all NBCTs in the state.
National Board Certification (NBC) is a voluntary, advanced certification process for educators. At a minimum, teachers pay close to $2000 to undergo NBC. The process consists of four components, each designed to evaluate a different aspect of a teacher’s practice. Currently the state pays an annual supplement to new NBCTs for the five years of the national certificate. A proviso passed last legislative session effectively ends the supplement program for candidates who apply after July 1, 2018. This deadline leaves many SC educators unable to benefit from the program.
As part of the retention study, CERRA surveyed members of the SC National Board Network to gain anecdotal evidence related to the impact of NBC on teacher instruction and retention. Members, all of whom are NBCTs in the state, were asked if they believed that the NBC process affected their planning, instruction, and/or assessment practices. All survey respondents credited the process with enabling them to reflect on their practice and better assess the different needs of their students. Such reflection and differentiated instruction often have a positive impact on student learning and growth and can lead to an improvement in the teacher’s overall effectiveness. Teachers also reported that the supplement positively impacted their decision to stay in the classroom.
According to data released by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), South Carolina remains one of the nation’s leading states for the total number of NBCTs after 91 educators representing 24 school districts earned NBC in December 2017. In addition to these new NBCTs, 490 teachers renewed their certificates in 2017.
Teachers interested in applying for the NBC process can access further information on the CERRA website at nationalboardsc. com.