Now in her seventh year of education — fifth as a kindergarten teacher at Centre Elementary School — Mrs. Johns recently achieved National Board Certification.
Mrs. Johns is only the second Cherokee County educator to achieve the prestigious honor; she joins Sand Rock School science teacher Rachel Smith among the ranks.
In the past year, 8,195 elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide became National Board Certified Teachers, bringing to 32,130 the total number nationwide.
“I always wanted to become a teacher,” Mrs. Johns said. “I had a great teacher in second grade and I wanted to be like her.
“I wanted to become a teacher because I loved school when I was a child. I loved going to school every day because it was fun. I want to make school experiences and learning fun for children. Because learning should be fun.”
Mrs. Johns came to the United States from Japan in 1988. She is a Jacksonville State University graduate with work completed on her Masters at the University of Alabama. She is currently finishing her Education Specialist degree and will begin work on her Doctorate next month.
Comparing her secondary education in Japan to that in the United States, Mrs. Johns said it was “different.” She said enrollment in college in Japan is extremely difficult. Japanese school children have 12 years of secondary education, but their school years are considerably longer than those in the United States. They have six weeks off for summer, two weeks of Christmas break and two weeks of spring break, leaving them approximately 42 weeks of schooling. Alabama students have a 175-day (35 weeks) school year.
In Japan, the school day is about the same as in the U.S., from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mrs. Johns said her desire to become National Board Certified came about in her fourth year of teaching. “I wanted something more,” she said. “I felt I could improve as a teacher by going through this process.”
The requirements for Early Childhood Generalist portofolio section cover four areas, Mrs. Johns said: literacy development, math/science, social studies/art and documented accomplishment along with six 30-minute written tests to complete the process.
“You have to write on how you teach and why you teach the way you do,” Mrs. Johnson said. “You are looking to how and why and if it is working. If it’s not working, you have to write how you are going to make it better.”
Other than continuing her education, Mrs. Johns isn’t looking toward a career move in education in the near future. “I love what I do,” she said. “I’m working with young children. I believe that is the most rewarding job anyone can have. I work with children hoping to make a difference. If I can touch one student, that would be my goal.”
“I want to congratulate Kyoko on her accomplishment,” Cherokee County Supt. Kay Davis said. “We are so proud of her to want to better herself for the children of Cherokee County. We also have another National Board Certified teacher, Rachel Smith at Sand Rock.
“I encourage any teacher to try to meet the National Board Certification standards. The stands are very rigorous but I know our teachers in Cherokee County can accomplish this task.”
“NBPTS celebrates and congratulates all teachers who went through the rigorous National Board Certification process,” says NBPTS Board Chair Roy E. Barnes. “This impressive achievement is widely recognized at the national, state and local levels as a benchmark for teacher quality. This is also an indication that policymakers, educators, business and community leaders, and parents recognize that when it comes to a quality education, quality teaching matters.”
Founded 16 years ago, NBPTS is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-governmental organization dedicated to advancing the quality of teaching and learning. National Board Certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession. A voluntary process established by NBPTS, certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.
“Teacher quality has never been more important, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is the only organization of its kind helping states to identify and certify highly accomplished teachers,” says NBPTS President Joseph A. Aguerrebere. “Through National Board Certified Teachers, states and communities are realizing the enormous benefits of using National Board Certification as a tool to attract, reward and retain highly accomplished teachers as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.”
Forty-nine states and more than 500 school districts across the nation have implemented policies and regulations to recruit, reward and retain National Board Certified Teachers. “In this environment of economic concern, the National Board is extremely grateful to the growing number of states, school districts and municipalities that support National Board Certification and the impact it has on the teaching profession and improved student learning,” says Barnes.
“National Board Certified Teachers distinguish themselves in the field of education by their dedication to their profession and their demonstrated abilities in the classroom,” says Edward B. Rust, Jr., chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies®. “As a member of the business community, we will continue to support the National Board because we know that creating more opportunities for teachers to attain this credential will help lead to a stronger teaching force, higher student achievement and an economy that benefits from skilled and productive citizens.”
“It is important to understand that the National Board Certification process not only identifies accomplished teachers, but also is a profound professional development experience,” says Aguerrebere. “This is a process that forces teachers to demonstrate how their activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, improve student achievement.”
In its effort to measure the impact of National Board Certification and the effects of NBCTs on the quality of teaching and student achievement in America’s schools, NBPTS has engaged in an independent, rigorous research agenda. There have been more than 140 studies, reports and papers commissioned on the value of the National Board Certification process, as well as its standards and assessments. Findings and results from a number of research studies are expected to be completed in 2004 and 2005