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Gradman Latest Member of Elite Teaching Fraternity

Glen Oaks physical education teacher Dana Gradman became the latest member of an elite teaching fraternity after completing the rigorous National Board Certification program.

Gradman recently completed the two-year program and was recognized at April's board of education meeting. Marilyn Marino, who was District 117's first recipient of the national honor 20 years ago and now serves as the district's mentor-coordinator, presented Gradman with a pin commemorating her achievement.

She said she decided to pursue NBC because of Chris Pulgar, who ran the cohort at Glen Oaks. "Chris reached out to me because she thought I would be a good candidate," Gradman said. "After talking it through with her, I realized it would be a great way to reflect on my teaching practice while completing the professional development hours I need."

She said the process was far more challenging than she expected.

"They have you look into and explain every aspect of what you do and how you do it, and then have you reflect on the WHY," Gradman said. "I think this will definitely make me a better teacher, as it has me put more thought into everything I do from planning lessons, implementing them, assessing students and continually reflecting on what is working great and what might need to be changed."

National Board Certification challenges teachers to reflect on their craft as they strive to become even better teachers while earning their profession's highest honor.

Participants meet monthly as a cohort while collaborating on the shared goal of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher.

Since 1987, the National Board has established the profession's definitive standards of accomplished practice and created a system to determine whether teachers meet those high and rigorous standards.

Created for teachers, by teachers, National Board Certification is a voluntary, performance-based, peer-review process that recognizes the complex nature of teaching.

NBCTs are having a significant impact on student achievement across the country. Research has shown that the students of NBCTs outperform their peers in other classrooms.

Participants take tests and submit portfolios and videos showing the teachers in their classrooms applying their craft. 

The process is grouped into four components: content knowledge; differentiation in instruction; teaching practice and learning environments and effective and reflective practitioner.