HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has ranked The University of Southern Mississippi 11th in the nation and first in the state in producing new National Board Certified Teachers in 2019 with 997 teachers certified.
USM was ranked 13th nationally in 2018 with 1,001 teachers certified, which was also the highest ranking of institutions in the state that year.
National Board Certification gives teachers opportunity to achieve standards beyond those required by their home state, and the program has encouraged recognition of high-quality teachers and ongoing improvement in schools across the country for the past 25 years.
National certification is available from pre-K through 12th grade in 25 certified areas, and it consists of four components: written assessment of content knowledge, reflection on student work samples, video and analysis of teaching practice, and documented impact and accomplishments as a teaching professional.
Certified teachers are eligible for a $6,000 annual bonus, reimbursement of National Board fees, renewal of a Mississippi teaching license, and professional growth and leadership development, all while remaining in the classroom.
National Board Certified Teachers and director of the World Class Teacher Program at USM, Dr. Robin Atwood, said National Board Certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession.
“We are thrilled that USM has earned the top spot in the state when it comes to certifying teachers,” said Atwood. “It is not easy to become National Board certified, so knowing that USM alums are doing so well makes us especially proud.”
The World Class Teaching Program at USM has supported teachers pursuing National Board Certification since 1996 when it was built from verified professional development and leadership practices, and it has increased many teachers’ chances of achieving certification.
“There is a large body of research indicating that students of National Board Certified Teachers have higher test scores and academic achievements,” said Atwood. “In schools with large numbers of National Board Certified Teachers, there is greater collegiality within those schools and more professional collaboration among faculty.”
Trenton E. Gould, dean of USM’s College of Education and Human Sciences, said he appreciates the program that Dr. Atwood has built and considers it a point of pride for USM to be a national leader in producing certified teachers.
“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all 997 teachers who earned their national credential this year,” said Gould. “These individuals have experienced tremendous professional growth that will undoubtedly allow them to better serve their students.”