Mission & Background

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is actively recruiting teachers in the El Paso area to pursue National Board Certification (NBC). The certification process takes a full year, and has been described as the best staff development in which a teacher can engage. Teachers apply for a certificate in their teaching field and at the appropriate age level of his or her students, and then complete a portfolio demonstrating how they teach, why they teach that way, and how they verify that their students are learning. NBPTS does not endorse any specific teaching methodology or curriculum; teachers justify their methods in written commentaries that accompany student work samples, videotapes of classroom lessons, and documented accomplishments in areas outside of the classroom. Candidates for NBC are also required to complete six assessments of their content knowledge and pedagogical applications. The portfolio and assessments are evaluated and scored by teachers trained by NBPTS.

The certification process is not easy or cheap. The fee for NBC is $2,300, but there are scholarships and federal subsidies available to cover $2,000. Candidates have reported spending between 200-400 hours on the portfolio development and studying for the assessments. Surveys indicate that those candidates with a support system in place during the process comprise about 80% of the total who attain NBC. To provide local support here in El Paso, the National Board Resource Center at UTEP is offering a course this coming spring semester to assist teachers who are interested in and are qualified for applying for NBC. The course is TED 5319, section 26152, and meets on Wednesday from 4:30 to 7:20 PM. This class can also be used as an elective in a Master’s program.
Tuition for this class can be reimbursed using Title II funds as it is a course designed for staff development. Teachers should make the appropriate arrangements with their principals as the University does not handle district funding or policies.

During the semester, teachers will gain knowledge of their specific national standards, demonstrate their educational understanding and expertise by writing about their own classes in descriptive, analytical, and reflective formats, and find out how to document accomplishments as learners, leaders, and collaborators with families and communities. Teachers will reflect on their practice to determine if what they are doing is effective, and how to verify their effectiveness.

The course is open to experienced teachers interested in pursuing National Board Certification. Requirements for NBC are at least 3 years of teaching experience, full certification during those years, and a baccalaureate degree. Any questions can be directed to Deborah Svedman at or 747-5357.

" Better teaching, better learning, better schools"