An NBCT’s Reflections, Transitions and Opportunities




Stories from Schools is pleased to have the following post from Michaela Miller, a Washington NBCT, who is currently the Director of State Policy and Outreach for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Formerly, Michaela worked at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction directing the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Project, National Board, and the Beginning Teacher Support Program. Prior to that Michaela taught English in the North Thurston School District. 


An NBCT’s Reflections,
Transitions and Opportunities

years ago this week, two major events clouded my thoughts. The first: “How am I
going to attempt to explain the horrific events of 9/11 to my students?” The
second thought was ”When is the almighty "Blue Box" coming from the National
Board?” The first was incredibly challenging as my social studies partner and I
struggled not only to explain the events to our new 9th graders, but
to understand the tragedy ourselves. Somewhat selfishly, however, I couldn't stop thinking about the second question as I anxiously awaited directions to what
would prove to be a turning point in my teaching career.

that time, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was undergoing
a revision in 2001 and I was somewhat naively entering the process during the transition
from the first version of the assessment to the second. I spent the previous four
months with only three secrets to the new process: The Adolescent Young Adult
English Language Arts (AYA ELA Standards), the Five Core Propositions
and the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching. In the end, this solitary
confinement with these three touchstones created a critical foundation to my
year as a National Board candidate. The standards and the architecture are the
backbone of the National Board process and, with my students leading the way,
these touchstones came alive in my practice.

the National Board stands ready for yet another transition– and I can only
imagine that candidates are wondering what it will mean for them. Certainly,
revising the assessment process again will mean changes not only for them, but
also for support providers and National Board champions to understand and adapt
to. The assessment will evolve over the next three years—moving to 4 components, lowering the cost to around $1,900 and continuing to
streamline the electronic submission process.

Despite these changes, the foundation of National
Board Certification will remain constant. National Board Standards will always
be created for teachers, by teachers, the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching,
the Five Core Propositions will not change. These are the critical elements at
the heart of the assessment that all ultimately ensures that National Board
Certified Teachers positively impact our students and are always striving to be
more reflective practitioners.

Washington State, we will need the help of NBCTs in two ways:

  1. Communication: The move to a new assessment will require an ongoing
    communication that the National Board commits to throughout the development.
    The state network has established a core state team that includes the three
    partners (OSPI, WEA and CSTP) and the National Board. The state network will
    meet quarterly with the National Board and communicate changes. We need your
    help to communicate accurate and timely information to your colleagues.
  2. Ongoing input: We want you to stay involved in the National Board development
    process. Many of you will be asked to provide input as the new assessment takes
    shape. Please stay involved by answering National Board surveys that come
    through your inbox and keep abreast of the latest happenings at

as I was doing 12 years ago, teachers all over will be challenged this week with
talking about the history of 9/11 in the face of the current crisis in Syria. This
is what we do; we juggle the incredible demands of teaching our content all
while teaching our students about life, compassion and how to get along. There
is no more complex profession in the world. National Board Certification is an
assessment that lives up to the complexity of a teacher’s work, and, as we move
towards a new assessment over the next year, know that the foundations of the
process will remain.

One thought on “An NBCT’s Reflections, Transitions and Opportunities

  1. Tom

    Great post, Michaela. I was also stumped 12 years ago as to what and how to explain to my third graders. In the end I muddled through and we got through it.
    As far as the NB revisions, it’s about time! My overwhelming reaction as a candidate was “Why do I have to do all this in one year?”
    My one concern right now is about the transition process. When we switched from the pre-2001 edition to the current format, the new process was ready to go. My understanding this time around is that the new process will be rolled out incrementally. Why? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to develop the new process “behind the scenes” and keep the old process going until it’s ready?

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