Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fairfield-Suisun District Encouraging National Certification

Article Last Updated: Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 - 11:18:54 pm PDT

Fairfield-Suisun District Encouraging National Certification
By Stephanie Jucar

FAIRFIELD - Dozens of Fairfield-Suisun teachers plan to improve their teaching skills by gaining certification through a a nationally acclaimed program.

"It's enriching for teachers," said Roxanne Mancha, a national board certified recipient and teacher at Crystal Middle School. "I learned a lot about designing lessons and modifying work to fit the needs of particular students."

Currently, five teachers in Fairfield-Suisun School District are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The program - which analyzes teachers' work through portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and an examination of their classroom environment - helps teachers reflect and master their work by evaluating their own teaching techniques.

Initially, the goal of district Superintendent A. Woodrow Carter was to get one teacher from each school in the district certified.

Last week, 80 teachers in the school district signed up to find out more information about the program.

It costs $2,300 for board assessment fees and materials. The state Department of Education has a candidate fee subsidy program that will pay 50 percent of the fees for those who apply by Sept. 30, said Rosemary Ingram, the school district's human resources coordinator.

Because many teachers are interested in the program, Carter will present a plan to pay for the rest of the application fees at the School Board meeting Thursday.

He also said he will recommend teachers receive some kind of pay raise or stipend if they are certified.

"I really believe in this," he said. "This program makes teachers from good to great."

It took hundreds of hours in five months outside of class time for Kay Garcia, a former Fairfield High School teacher, to put her portfolio together to become certified.

Now a California Department of Education consultant of the national program, Garcia said she became a better teacher who evaluated her work more efficiently.

Deborah Mayer, who is also certified and teaches history at Dover Middle School, said the program helped her reflect on different teaching styles for the betterment of her students.

"It made me really focus on what standards I'm able to get across to students," she said.

Gail Standiford, Fairfield High School math teacher and another certified recipient, echoed her colleague, whom she often consulted about the prompts and work for the program.

"It's very worthwhile because it really causes teachers to reflect on their teaching practices," she said. "It makes a better teacher and it gives you some recognition."

Reach Stephanie Jucar at 427-6955 or

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