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Hamilton teacher pass rigorous certification process

Two Hamilton High School teachers are the first in the district to become National Board Certified Teachers. Mathematics teacher Steven Akin and communication arts teacher Debra Figueroa are among 70 Wisconsin teachers who earned the profession’s top honor this year through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Both Hamilton teachers earned their certifications in adolescence and young adulthood – Akin in mathematics and Figueroa in English language arts.

“We are excited and proud that Ms. Figueroa and Mr. Akin received their national teaching certification.” Hamilton Principal David Furrer said. “This program emphasizes the connection of teacher knowledge and abilities to student learning. The commitment and dedication of these two teachers serve as a model for all of us.”

The national board certification process requires intense self-reflection and measures a teacher’s practice against high and rigorous standards. Offered on a voluntary basis and valid for 10 years, the advanced system of national board certification complements, but does not replace, state licensing.

The process is unique because it assesses teachers’ knowledge and their ability to apply skills and professional judgment in the classroom. Candidates must critically analyze their practice and demonstrate how effectively they act on their insights.

Because there is a direct connection between what teachers know and what students learn, NBPTS-certified teachers are expected to possess deep subject knowledge and the ability to teach in ways that help students learn.

Assessments consist of portfolio entries and assessment center exercises. Teachers prepare their portfolios by videotaping their teaching, gathering student learning products and other teaching examples, and providing detailed analyses of their practice. The portfolio is designed to capture teaching in real-time, real-life settings, allowing trained assessors to examine how teachers translate knowledge and theory into practice.

At the assessment center, teachers write answers to questions that relate to their fields. These exercises validate the knowledge and skills exhibited in the portfolio and give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills not sampled in the portfolio.