North Star teacher achieves National Board Certification

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Sherry Matson, a fourth-grade teacher in Nikiski, has earned the highest professional credential in the field of teaching: National Board Certification.

Matson is one of 14 Alaska teachers and the second from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District who has achieved this award.

The other peninsula teacher with the certification is Richard "Dick" Sander, math and science teacher at Homer High School.

This is Matson's 14th year teaching at North Star Elementary School. She has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in reading education, and certification as a reading specialist. She is trained as a Six Trait Writing Workshop presenter and also has a special interest in math education.

Matson is known throughout the community for her marine biology trips across Kachemak Bay with her students and many of their parents. For the past 14 years, she has taken her fourth-, fifth- or sixth-graders on memorable four- or five-day trips, where they study intertidal invertebrates and learn to become good stewards of the Alaska environment.

To earn the certification, she had to submit videotapes of her teaching; a portfolio documenting her classroom activities and involvement with parents, teaching colleagues and the community; and pass a six-hour test during the summer.

National Board Certification, a voluntary process established by the National Board for Professional Teaching Stan-dards, is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes almost a year to complete.

Teachers must document their subject matter knowledge, provide evidence that they know how to teach their subjects to students effectively and demonstrate their ability to manage and measure student learning.

"This impressive level of achievement is a milestone for our organization, the teaching profession and the nation as a whole," said NBPTS President Betty Castor.

"Parents, policy makers and the public recognize that when it comes to quality education, teaching matters. This is why the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was created in the first place. We believe the heart of education reform rests directly with the teacher in the classroom."

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