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Teachers at Danville given incentive for furthering their education

Teachers who choose to further their own education in order to become a National Board Certified Teacher or who become certified to teach dual credit classes at the Danville High School will now receive funding for their efforts.

The Danville Board of Education approved a new procedure to encourage teachers to pursue those opportunities on Monday night.

Wes Cornett, director of schools, called it an investment for staff and students during a proposal.

Suzanne Farmer, the Kentucky Site Director of the Network to Transform Teaching for the National Board Certified Teacher program, said the program comes with a decade of research in multiple settings, including Kentucky, and shows that teachers who are certified are more likely to have additional growth with their students and are three times more likely to engage students in deep learning.

(Kendra Peek photo)
Suzanne Farmer

It’s a voluntary certification.

“It’s considered the highest credential that teachers can achieve and it’s written by teachers, for teachers,” Farmer said. 

In her role, Farmer is the lead on a grant program and helps districts support the certification and other professional learning using the National Board resources.

Teachers must submit and provide evidence of content knowledge, teaching ability and student impact. It takes one to five years to complete.

Farmer said, “The progress is rigorous and results in significant teacher growth.”

Just over eight percent of teachers in Kentucky are certified; 12 teachers in Danville are board certified.

According to the policy approved Monday night, the district will support teachers who are working to become a board certified teacher by providing substitute teachers during the process, allowing those teachers time to work on the components.

The district will also reimburse $1,500 toward the cost of completing the four components of the program — $250 after the initial submission of the component for up to $1,000 and $500 after they have achieved the certification.

Farmer said it can take up to $2,000 for teachers to complete a certification, depending on how many years and times they must submit to complete their certification.

The teachers also get an additional $500 from Danville to add to the state-mandated $2,000 stipend they receive for being certified. By the state statute, Farmer said, if the teacher moves out of their certificate area (such as an early childhood teacher moving to teach students in fourth grade and up or a teacher becoming a principal) they can lose their state stipend.

Danville’s policy will continue to support that educator in whatever role they take of educating children.

Farmer has a direct concern on the future of the district; she is a Danville educator who will be the assistant principal at the Mary G. Hogsett Primary School.

Cornett told the board on Monday that the officials with the National Board program are excited for Danville to take this step, as it is the first district in Kentucky to consider the policy.

The policy also pertains to Danville teachers who obtain certification to teach dual credit classes. Those teachers will receive a tuition reimbursement of up to $1,500.

Only high school teachers can become dual credit certified.

Board member Lori Finke thanked Cornett and the others that did the legwork on the proposals.

“Thank you all for the hard work to put this forward … for helping our teachers advance their education and continuing to support them,” she said.

Cornett was asked by board member Steve Becker if he felt the funding from the district would be sufficient to cover the continuing cost of the policy.

“We feel it’s enough money to meet the needs of (the National Board Certified Teacher program) and dual credit,” Cornett said. “We may have to put more on the dual credit side in a few years if we have teachers say they want to participate. That could be a positive unintended consequence. It’s good for students.”