Two Lincoln-Way High School District 210 teachers have earned the highest credential available to American educators by becoming National Board Certified Teachers through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
April Richter, a science teacher at Lincoln-Way East, and Camille Gonzalez-Jensen, a science teacher at Lincoln-Way North, recently completed a lengthy assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do.
“Being Nationally Board Certified is the highest accomplishment for any teacher,” said Lincoln-Way East Associate Principal Aimee Feehery, “and April thoroughly deserves this distinction.
“The process requires teachers to really reflect on their craft, and this certification only confirms what we have always known about April: she’s an expert in her content and is dedicated to her students and their learning,” she added. “We are extremely proud of April’s passion for both science and our Lincoln-Way students.”
Of Camille Gonzalez-Jensen, Joseph Skarbek, the science department chair at Lincoln-Way North, stated: “Camille has truly earned this designation and I could not be prouder. She has performed a lot of introspection in order to evaluate her classroom instruction and preparation. This sort of reflection helps herself out, along with her colleagues, but most importantly her kids. That is what Lincoln-Way is about, providing opportunities to maximize the growth of our students.”
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment of a teacher's pedagogical skills and content knowledge. The certification takes one to three years to complete and is valid for 10 years.
As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge.
“I started the process as a way to receive another teaching credential,” said Richter. “Unlike my master’s degree, the National Board process is less about `theory’ and more about student learning.
“Going through the process, I think it has made me a more reflective teacher on the effectiveness on my own classroom practices and has motivated me to try more interactive, inquiry-based learning activities,” she added.
For Gonzales-Jensen, the students, parents and dedicated staff of Lincoln-Way have inspired her to be the educator she is today.
“They have been valuable resources for lab experiences, lesson plans, feedback and reflection on student learning and achievement,” she said. “It has been a long journey, but I am grateful to the support of my family, students, colleagues and the administrative team throughout this process.”
Last year, two other teachers from Lincoln-Way North High School achieved National Board Certification -- Spanish teacher Linda Egnatz and science teacher Maria Wilson.
“I am beyond proud of the accomplishments of these teachers,” said Lincoln-Way North Associate Principal Lynn Merrick. “I have always known that they are great teachers -- sound instructionally, reflective about their teaching, and passionate about the kids. It is very rewarding to have two more teachers recognized on a national level for what they do every day for our students at Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way North.”