Two William Paca Middle School seventh-grade mathematics teachers – Melissa DiDonato and Ann Posiak – recently completed the rigorous requirements to become National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), a voluntary certification process from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) that requires teachers to demonstrate standards-based evidence of the positive effect they have on student learning and exhibit a deep understanding of their students, the content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practices. They are among only 3,831 teachers from across the nation to earn this distinction in the latest class (December 2019).
Ms. Posiak has served as a William Floyd teacher for the past 15 years, and Ms. DiDonato for the past 14 years, the last 12 of which have been at the same grade level. Both have previous experience teaching elsewhere. They feel fortunate to have completed the National Board Certification together as it enabled them to review and reflect on each other’s work throughout the process while strengthening their learning.
“At first, the certification process and work demands seemed overwhelming,” said Ms. DiDonato. “However, as we worked through the components, we appreciated how it was challenging us to examine every element of our teaching to improve student achievement.” They both agreed that this was the best learning endeavor that they had embarked upon in their professional careers.
Ms. DiDonato and Ms. Posiak have joined the ranks of fellow National Board Certified teachers at William Floyd – Lillian Bilello, Christine Rosado, Gina Fumai and Mary Siano – many of whom have provided support and mentoring, along with the William Floyd Teacher Center, throughout this three-year process. “Their experience and guidance were invaluable to us,” they said. “We were also supported by our principal, Dr. Michele Gode, who provided the time and opportunity for us to work closely together.” They added that students and parents were supportive by allowing them to visually record their instruction and use student work in their submissions.
“I can speak on behalf of the William Paca faculty and staff when I say that Melissa and Ann exemplify what it means to be Nationally Board certified,” said Dr. Michele Gode, principal, William Paca Middle School. “Their hard work, unwavering dedication to their students and their craft is unmatched.”
In order to attain National Board Certification, teachers must complete a performance-based, peer-reviewed process, demonstrating their proven impact on student learning and achievement. Teachers must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing reflection and continuous learning.
“These new National Board Certified Teachers will continue to change the way their students learn, and their proven ability to be the best teachers they can be will have a ripple effect on their schools and their communities for years to come,” said Peggy Brookins, NBCT, president and CEO of the NBPTS, in the organizational announcement. “National Board Certification is about elevating the teaching profession; and it is about helping children achieve at higher rates,” she added. “The certification process impacts teaching and learning well beyond an individual teacher’s classroom.”
- Paca Middle School