West Virginia now has its first National Board Certified Pre-K teachers.
A partnership between the WVU College of Education and Human Services and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation allowed 17 teachers from 12 counties across the state to participate in the Literacy Leadership through National Board Certification (LLNBC) program.
“We were able to reach out across the state of West Virginia and work with teachers that we wouldn’t necessarily have access to because they are geographically bound,” said Associate Professor and Outreach Coordinator Aimee Morewood. “They were able to work with us here at WVU, which really tied in to our land grant mission of the University.”
The LLNBC program was done entirely online and free to teachers.
In order to qualify for the professional development, teachers had to be working for three years in West Virginia.
Board certification isn’t required for teachers in West Virginia, but is typically earned by teachers in Kindergarten through 12th grades.
“They weren’t necessarily part of the population that somebody would be targeting for an experience like this,” said Allison Dagen, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator. “These were Pre-K teachers who essentially were at the top of their game looking for professional development.”
To complete the program teachers received two graduate literacy courses and mentors who had already completed National Board Certification in the past. Teachers were also able to connect with Dagen and Morewood online for assistance.
“We know that emergent literacy is so important and that’s really the foundation of good, effective literacy instruction,” Morewood said of the teachings in the program. “We wanted to give them an experience working with the developmental continuum of literacy education and that’s what the National Board Certification did. It wasn’t just focused on Pre-K or emergent skills, it went up through early reading as well.”
West Virginia now has more than 900 National Board Certified teachers working in schools.
Those teachers are available for incentives at the state and county level.
“West Virginia itself is one of 18 states that offered some type of subsidy payment loan to support the teachers in the process,” Dagen explained. “West Virginia is one of 27 states in the United States that also supports the teachers post-certification through some sort of stipend that they would receive through the life of the certification. There are some counties in West Virginia that provide perks of being certified, so we’re in a state that really supports the efforts for teachers to be certified.”