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State vs. National Certification
by Elizabeth Scheibl

Elizabeth Scheibl is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

September 29, 2003

When making the decision about whether to work toward national certification, one factor that weighed heavily on me was that my state certification was then good for ten years. As a mother of two young children, that was appealing to me because I often find it hard to arrange to take classes or to participate in extended professional development. In general, however, I found the actual renewal process for state certification to be very easy and limited in scope. I've had the opportunity to take classes in a number of areas; some did not directly relate to my grade level. Being required to renew my professional certificate every five years just didn't seem that difficult. I personally found that I could easily obtain nine graduate credits or compile the required CEUs.

The National Board Certification process, on the other hand, is definitely more intense and requires more work in a shorter time frame (one to three years). Because one of the focuses of the National Certification process is professional contributions, and because those accomplishments must fall within a recent time frame, each candidate still is required to enhance himself or herself professionally through classes or seminars. In my opinion, going through the National Certification process allows any teacher, no matter what geographic area or educational position he or she is in, to reflect on best practices and on the impact those practices have on student learning -- probably more effectively than the quick class or lecture to obtain credit. At this time, no nationally certified teachers have come up for renewal, so no final decisions have been made on how to keep national certification current. This is a work in progress. I hope the national certification process will work in conjunction with state requirements to better us all as teachers.

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Meet Elizabeth Scheibl

Elizabeth Scheibl received her bachelor's degree in English literature and elementary education from Providence College in May 1990. For five years, she was a resource teacher at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. For the past eight years, she has taught fourth grade at the school. Elizabeth enjoys the daily challenges that teaching offers and strives to grow and better herself as an educator.

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