Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ALNBCT Hill Day 2014

The Alabama National Board Certified Teachers Network is hosting our 2nd Annual AL NBCT Hill Day on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.  We are meeting with legislators to discuss the impact that being an NBCT has on our students in order to drive support to continue rewarding Alabama's teachers for earning certification.  We would love to have you join us.  You can read about last year's Hill Day {here}.

Please respond to this invitation by Friday, March 14, 2014, so we can make our final plans.  If you are able to attend, we will send you some additional information in the following weeks.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Open Board Positions

The Alabama NBCT Network Board currently has two available positions, historian and secretary. According to our bi-laws, all officers must hold a current National Board certification. All board members need to commit to attending each of the board meetings. Typically, we have eight board meetings a year. These meetings usually occur on a Saturday morning and last for about an hour. Board members also need to commit to attending the annual conference and all other events, such as Alabama Hill Day.

If you are interested in serving on the board in either of these capacities, please complete the application below no later than March 15, 2014.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Newbie's Reflection on the Alabama NBCT Conference

When I arrived at Spain Park High School for the ALNBCT conference on Saturday, January 25, I was not looking to be convinced that national board certification is the next step I want to take as an educator and a learner.  Nearly every moment of the day, however, confirmed the high regard in which I hold national board certified teachers and reaffirmed my commitment to work toward that goal.

Keynote speaker Rick Wormeli, a member of the first class of National Board certified teachers, kicked off the conference by asking us all to confront our hypocrisies.  He challenged us to align our actions with our principles even when doing so demands that we take on long-held traditions, habits, and public perceptions.  Wormeli’s words have offered guidance to many in my school as we have shifted our assessment practice this school year, and his charisma, vast knowledge, and many accomplishments are worthy of respect and admiration.  It is that self-reflection and brutal honesty in the service of students, though, that I see in both him and the other NBCTs from whom I learn each day and that I strive toward myself.

The first breakout session included a discussion from Tammy Dunn on revisions to the national board certification process, which will affect educators that begin their application during the 2014-2015 cycle.  As I plan to become a candidate myself this year, I was particularly interested in learning more about the requirements.  Truth be told, prior to the conference I worried that I would feel rather underqualified among such accomplished educators.  However,  as the session began, my anxiety quickly dissipated.  Though they may represent the elite of our profession, the NBCTs that I have met have led me to believe that they are not content with remaining the 1%.  They are inclusive leaders encouraging, persuading, sometimes cajoling other educators to dive into the challenging process of certification and supporting them along the way.      

After lunch, I was honored to partner with Shelly Abrams to host one of the conference’s Tech Playground sessions.  This was a new session format for the conference, an informal roundtable discussion that allowed participants to ask questions and share ideas about digital tools and technology integration best practices.  Nearly all of the questions we addressed focused on collaboration, from how to develop supports for curriculum development across districts to strategies for developing a professional learning network, and I loved the opportunity to discuss ways that digital tools help both teachers and students to connect and learn from one another.  

This year, the network’s tenth anniversary, was my first trip to the ALNBCT conference.  It will most certainly not be my last.  I will continue to go and learn from these extraordinary teachers, and hopefully some day in the not-too-distant future I might count myself among their ranks.

~Laren Hammonds
Rock Quarry Middle School
Twitter: @_clayr_

Monday, February 3, 2014

Conference Reflection from a Charter Member

This year’s conference was the best Network conference I have attended and I have attended almost all 10 of them.  The organization couldn’t have been better and Rick Wormeli was an outstanding speaker and we all learned so much from him.  His topics ranged from homework, grading, metaphors and analogies, and unlocking potential.  The breakout sessions were numerous and it was hard to choose from so many wonderful topics and session leaders.

As a charter member and officer, I have knowledge of how the network started and how hard we worked to get it started.  I’ll share a little of that with you.  The charter officers just happened to meet each other in Washington, D.C. at the NBPTS Conference when we were all asked to sit at the “Alabama” table.  A few of the people knew each other.  Jefferson Co. School System had sent several people.  Included in that group was Sally Price, a big supporter of National Board Certification.  She was a huge help in getting us organized, obtaining a lawyer, and writing by-laws.  Sherry Baltsheit was our first president and she wanted us to have a big conference and invite every NBCT in the state.  Merri Beth Bass and I were working with NBPTS as a liaison with State Farm.  We were able to obtain a grant through State Farm to fund that first conference which was held at the Wynfrey Hotel.  We had a huge attendance that year and we were not prepared.  People stood in line out the door just to get to registration.  We had a speaker from NBPTS and also the State Superintendent was there. I think we had 2 breakout sessions including one led by Becky Dobelstein. Since we were at the Galleria, the attendees ate lunch in the food court.  So as you can see, we have come a long way from that first meeting when we were struggling to get started until the smoothly run conference we all just participated in. 

The one thing I’m disappointed in is the attendance after that first conference.  We have 2,242 NBCTs in our State. We should have more participating in this Network. If you attended the conference and went away feeling renewed, please spread the word to other NBCTs about the Network and the annual conference and encourage them to participate.

I hope that you will express your appreciation to the current board members for keeping the Network going and for organizing such a wonderful professional development opportunity.

Ellen Stubblefield, NBCT