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Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Teachers Union Celebrate National Board Certified Teachers

25 May 2023

532 CPS educators earn or renew prestigious teaching credential during height of the pandemic

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Pedro Martinez and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Stacy Davis Gates joined Illinois State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards President and CEO Peggy Brookins, educators, school leaders and families tonight at Amundsen High School for a District wide celebration of educator excellence. The celebration of National Board Certification, the country’s highest teacher certification, honored 532 CPS educators who earned or renewed their National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) credential during the height of the pandemic. This was the first NBCT certification celebration since 2019 and honors teachers, counselors and librarians who earned this credential during the past four years. 

“Our students are incredibly lucky to have this highly-talented and diverse group of educators in their classrooms every day,” said CEO Pedro Martinez. “Great educators like the ones we honored tonight make a world of difference in our students’ lives and their success both in and outside the school walls. I am incredibly grateful to our new NBCT educators for their relentless pursuit of educational excellence and their dedication and commitment to our students.”

This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Nurturing Teacher Leadership program, a partnership between the District and the Chicago Teachers Union to enable CPS educators to earn National Board Certification. Since 1997, CPS and CTU have produced more than 2400 NBCTs, the third highest number of NBCTs of any district in the nation.

“I am so proud of all the teachers, counselors and librarians who achieved National Board Certification over the last four years. The NBC process is rigorous and challenging during the best of times. But these educators completed the certification during a once-in-a-100 year global pandemic. I am inspired by their resilience,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “Today, we are celebrating these educators for their personal and professional achievements because every metric related to student learning and well-being is improved by having a National Board Certified Teacher in the classroom. Our students deserve high-quality classrooms where equity and justice abound; NBCTs are part of making that a reality. Over the past four years, 41 percent of Chicago's new NBCTs are teachers of color--and the most recent cohort boasts 45 percent teachers of color. I applaud all our NBCTs who undertook this grueling process to refine their practice, to examine and reflect on their pedagogy and to work with colleagues to achieve this distinction.”

National Board Certification is a rigorous, voluntary certification program for educators to develop and enhance their teaching practice and ultimately improve student learning that is developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Research shows school districts that have a high number of NBCTs positively impact student performance and lead to an increase in collaboration among teachers. 

“We are strong believers in National Board Certification and have been supporting teachers' efforts to grow professionally through this rigorous process for more than two decades,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders. “The expertise teachers acquire through National Board Certification elevates all the educators around them. It's an investment that pays dividends for our schools, our students, and our communities. Congratulations and thank you to all the teachers who have earned this prestigious distinction. I look forward to seeing how you contribute to the continuing evolution of the teaching profession for many years to come.”

Gladys Joy de Guzman earned National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist through the Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL) program, a professional development initiative made possible by the CTU-CPS partnership. A pre-k educator for more than 10 years, NTL connected de Guzman with like-minded educators who were committed to rigorous, effective and inclusive instructional practices and who also valued her experiences as an immigrant and former bilingual student.

“Making sure our children have a safe, fair, equitable and affirming learning environment is what motivates me as an educator,” said de Guzman. “I would encourage any educator who loves working with children, who believes in the promise of public education and whose goal is to positively transform student learning outcomes in CPS to take advantage of this great program.”

The District recently renewed its commitments to investing in teacher professional development and learning in the Three-Year Blueprint. The District is taking steps to improve awareness of professional development programs, like National Board Certification, especially among historically underrepresented groups. More information will be posted in the weeks to come on the Lead With CPS website.  

William Weaver, a social studies teacher at Kenwood Academy High School earned National Board Certification in 2020. With more than 10 years of experience in the classroom, Mr. Weaver also pursued National Board Certification through the NTL program to heighten the quality of teaching and learning in his classroom. 

“Achieving my NBCT has been one of the biggest feats of my educational career,” said Weaver. “Thankfully, I didn’t have to do it alone. With the support of my family, NBCT mentors, colleagues and students, I was able to distinguish myself as an educator and build confidence that has solidified my place in this profession as an accomplished educator, mentor and coach and improved students’ learning.”

To recruit new candidates, the CTU Quest Center hosts information sessions that explain their support offerings. More information about the program is available here.

In addition to the CTU program, CPS teachers can also access support through Illinois State University’s National Board Resource Center.