February 12, 2003

Daley, business leaders, school officials salute master teachers

CHICAGO—Mayor Richard M. Daley joined leaders of The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund), the Illinois Business Roundtable and Chicago Public Schools today in honoring 93 Chicago Public School teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Widely regarded as the highest credential a teacher can earn, National Board Certification is a year-long process that requires more than 400 hours of work outside the classroom. Chicago Public Schools now have 162 NBC teachers, compared with just 10 in 1999.

“You are not motivated by money, but by something better and higher: the desire to be the very best in your profession and to help young people improve their lives and achieve their full potential,” Daley told the teachers at a luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive.

“Those are qualities we treasure in the Chicago Public Schools, and we look forward to having you share your energy, your work ethic and your love of teaching with your fellow teachers – so that they will be inspired to work toward national certification themselves,” Daley said.

Each newly certified teacher received $3,000 today from The Chicago Public Education Fund as part of its million-dollar Give-Back Incentive. They will also receive $2,500 from the Chicago Board of Education and $3,000 a year for the next ten years from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The Chicago Public Education Fund worked with Daley, the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union to map out a comprehensive strategy to boost the number of certified teachers, said Janet Knupp, The Fund’s president.

“Like in business, we know we must identify the most talented people we have, use them well, and compensate them accordingly,” she said.

The Fund, which raises venture capital for public education, has committed $2.2 million toward programs and incentives that encourage Chicago Public School teachers to seek National Board Certification.

The NBPTS certifies teachers who demonstrate their knowledge and skills through an extensive series of performance based assessments that include teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and rigorous analyses their own classroom teaching and student learning.

Candidates also must complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge, as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their students. The unique process assesses not just teacher knowledge, but also the actual use of skills and professional judgment in the classroom.

There are nearly 24,000 certified teachers in the United States, including 569 in Illinois. There are 222 newly certified teachers in Illinois this year; 40 percent of them teach in the Chicago Public Schools.

“The fact that we now have 16 times as many National Board Certified teachers as we did four years ago speaks volumes — about our efforts to improve teacher quality throughout the Chicago Public Schools, and about the commitment and professionalism of our educators,” said Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

As part of its Give-Back Incentive, The Fund also rewarded three schools where 4 or more teachers earned National Board Certification with $30,000 for continued professional development: Blair Early Childhood Center, 6751 W. 63rd Pl.; Peirce School of International Studies, 1423 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.; and Sumner Elementary School, 4320 W. Fifth Ave. The Fund is also supporting teams of teachers seeking certification at 17 other schools.

“The students at these schools are truly fortunate, because they are part of a culture of excellence that is bound to inspire them and their teachers,” Daley said. “And that’s what we’re trying to develop throughout the Chicago Public Schools.”

40 schools feature NBC teachers or candidates, and more than 250 new candidates are currently taking part in the year-long process, which concludes this summer.

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As a venture capital fund for public education, The Chicago Public Education Fund is an unprecedented catalyst for improving school leadership and student achievement system wide. Launched by a group of corporate and civic leaders, The Fund brings private sector dollars and expertise to high-impact programs aligned with Chicago Public Schools priorities. Find out more at www.cpef.org.