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State vs. National Certification
by Jennifer Sinotte

Jennifer Sinotte is working toward National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist / Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood.

September 29, 2003

It took me a while to really think about national certification vs. state certification. There is no easy answer to the question of the best way to keep teachers -- and consequently, students --improving. The standards we as educators are expected to meet are becoming more and more difficult.

I think that both the national and state certification processes are important ways for teachers to better their own teaching practices. The National Board Certification process focuses on your particular area of expertise, giving you the opportunity to share what you have learned as an educator and to show how you implement that knowledge in your classroom. You are required to look at yourself as a teacher and analyze and reflect on your own practices. That helps you examine how effective you are and where you can make improvements or changes.

Although I think the National Board Certification process can only benefit one's teaching, I don't think it can take the place of state certification. It is important to stay up-to-date on best practices, and to do what you need to do for professional development. State certification requires nine graduate credits every five years. That enables teachers to take courses that are of interest to them and helps them stay current on new techniques in their own fields. I think both state and national certification are important aspects of teaching. If you could combine certain requirements of both, you would have a great way to help teachers stay on top of new strategies and ideas, and also analyze, reflect, and improve upon their own teaching practices.

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Meet Jennifer Sinotte

Jennifer Sinotte received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Franklin Pierce College in May 1992, and her master's degree in special education from Providence College in May of 1998. Jennifer has spent her teaching career at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. For the first two years of her career, she was a resource teacher for grades four and five. For the past four years, Jennifer taught in a primary self-contained classroom, and recently switched to full-day kindergarten.

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