Teachers Earn National Board Certification

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Twenty Iowa teachers earned National Board Certification (NBC) in 2013, including six from the Cedar Rapids Community School District. This brings the total number of District teachers to achieve NBC over time to 60, the most of any school district in Iowa! Of these, 50 are currently teaching in District classrooms.

“The Cedar Rapids Community School District continues to lead the State of Iowa in National Board Certified educational staff,” noted Dr. Dave Benson. “ We are pleased to honor these newly-certified teachers and our established certified teachers. Better qualified teachers result in better instruction and learning for all students.”
National Board Certification is a voluntary process achieved through an assessment that takes nearly a year to complete. Through the assessment process, teachers document their subject matter knowledge, provide evidence that they know how to teach their subjects to students most effectively, and demonstrate their ability to manage and measure student learning. The assessments are based on standards developed by the NBPTS.

Iowa ranks 26th in the total number of teachers who achieved certification over time (683) and ranks 31st nationwide in the number of new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). The state’s top five school districts in terms of the cumulative total of NBCTs are: Cedar Rapids with 50, Sioux City with 18, Des Moines Public Schools with 13, Dubuque with 12, and Davenport with 12 National Board Certified Teachers.

Iowa NBC teachers joined the ranks of 4,000 teachers nationwide who achieved certification in 2013. This brings the total number of teachers who achieved National Board Certification to nearly 106,000 in all 50 states and District of Columbia.

District teachers earning National Board Certification in 2013 are Roxann Dittmer, Jessica Mooberry, Abbie Petsche, Cassidy Reinken, Jillian Schulte, and Nicole Shaw.

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Roxann Dittmer has been a teacher for 23 years; 17 of those have been with the Cedar Rapids Community Schools. She currently teaches at the Linn County Child and Youth Development Center and previously taught at Taylor Elementary School. Dittmer earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Iowa. She completed her Ph.D at the University of Iowa.
“I've always enjoyed academic challenges and have obtained many of those; however, National Boards intrigued me because the focus is on performance with the synthesis of methodology, best practice, and reflection,” explained Dittmer. “I was also attracted by the fact that one of the components concentrated on family, community, and collegial involvement to assist a child to attain their full potential. As a true believer in the concept of ‘it takes a village’ I was pleased to see this element was a notable part of the certification process. I decided to partake at the last minute because I thought it would be a fun endeavor and I wasn't disappointed.”

Roxann Dittmer
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Jessica Mooberry has taught for six years, all of those at Erskine Elementary School. Mooberry currently teaches fifth grade and previously taught fourth grade as well as a 4/5 combined class. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and her master’s degree from St. Ambrose University.

“I like to challenge myself and viewed National Board Certification as one of the best ways to do so,” she noted. “Several colleagues of mine shared their experience pursuing NBC and encouraged me to try to achieve as well. I knew this experience would take me out of my comfort zone while helping me to grow as an educator. Ultimately, pursuing NBC will tremendously impact my students’ learning.”

Jessica Mooberry
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Abbie Petsche earned her undergraduate degree from Mount Mercy College and her master’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She has taught in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools for nine years and is currently a kindergarten teacher at Grant Wood Elementary School.

“I pursued my National Board Certification to continue to grow as an educator,” Petsche explained. “This process has taught me to be more reflective in my teaching and has helped me become a more effective teacher.”

Abbie Petsche
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Cassidy Reinken received her undergraduate degree from Luther College and a master’s degree from Morningside College. She is in her seventh year with the District and teaches art at Roosevelt Middle School.

“My journey towards National Board Certification started because of my passion for art education, professional development, and increasing student learning,” Reinken noted. “What intrigued me about the process is how relevant it was to my content area of visual arts. Throughout the process I became a more effective and reflective teacher. Through the written entries I was required me to repeatedly assess what my students were learning, how I knew they were learning, and what I needed to do if they weren’t, which directly correlates with the PLC model. I highly recommend other educators pursue their National Board Certification as it was the most individualized and valuable form of professional development I have ever participated in.”

Cassidy Reinken
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Jillian Schulte has taught for nine years in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools. She currently teaches music at Grant Wood and Kenwood elementary schools and previously taught at Erskine Elementary School and the Monroe Early Childhood Center. Schulte earned her undergraduate degree from Wartburg College and a master’s degree from Morningside College.

“NBC is a very reflective process that is focused on student learning and teacher impact,” Schulte explained. “I pursued this to help me become more reflective and purposeful in my teaching practice, resulting in a more student-centered classroom and increased levels of student achievement.”

Jillian Schulte
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Nicole Shaw has spent her 10-year career teaching in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. Nicole currently teachers fourth grade at Viola Gibson Elementary School; she previously taught at Hoover Elementary.

“I started the NBC process because I saw it as a meaningful challenge, tying directly to the everyday work I was doing in my classroom,” Shaw explained. “The process for achieving National Board Certification makes you truly reflect on your teaching practices. It taught me to continually question the “why” behind my instructional decisions. “

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