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15 O.C. teachers earn national certification
By SCOTT MARTINDALE



Fifteen Orange County educators have been named 2012 national board-certified teachers, considered the most elite honor of the teaching profession.

The O.C. teachers, representing schools from Brea to Laguna Beach, represent fewer than 1 percent of all educators in Orange County. Fewer than half of teachers certified are successful on their first try.

"It's important that they be praised and saluted for this accomplishment, and at the same time encourage other teachers to consider taking this step," said Orange County schools Superintendent Al Mijares. "This is a comprehensive process and requires great effort by teachers."

(See the list of the 15 2012 O.C. national board-certified teachers.)

The 15 O.C. educators are among 4,980 nationally who achieved the recognition this year. The honorees were announced Tuesday by the Arlington, Va.-based National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and will hold their certification for 10 years.

The pass rate on the first try is about 45 percent nationally, officials said. Teachers who don't pass in their first year have two additional years to redo the portions of the 10-part certification processes they failed. About 65 percent of applicants pass by the third year.

National board certification typically involves compiling four portfolios in excess of 100 typed pages and can easily take 400 hours to complete, officials said.

In each portfolio, teachers are asked to analyze elements of their teaching style, explaining why and how they deliver instruction and precisely how it translates into student success. The self-reflective analysis must include student work samples plus video of the teacher delivering lessons to students.

After completing the portfolio, applicants take a three-hour exam at a testing center, during which they answer six essay prompts that test mastery of content in their certification area. They are given 30 minutes to answer each prompt.

Some 102,237 teachers nationwide have achieved board certification. Numbers tend to be higher on the East Coast, where the program originated and is based, officials said.

Some states offer financial incentives and bonuses for becoming certified; California's one-time, $10,000 stipend for earning certification has been axed as a cost-cutting measure.

Some O.C. school districts cover the $2,500 application fee and/or provide support networks for applicants. Others provide financial incentives to teachers who pass, such as Newport-Mesa Unified, where a 2 percent annual bonus is automatically added to a board-certified teacher's base salary.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7802 or smartindale@ocregister.com or Twitter: @MartindaleScott






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