Lawrence school district officials applaud the efforts of Deerfield School teacher Lucinda Crenshaw.
For Deerfield School fifth-grade teacher Lucinda Crenshaw, the second time is a charm.
Crenshaw recently completed work for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and is one of only 1,836 teachers nationwide to receive national board certification. Twelve Kansas teachers are among that group, and Crenshaw is the only Lawrence teacher with the certification.
The process is different than the classes teachers are required to take to retain their Kansas teaching certificate.
The NBPTS requires a teacher to stand before a panel of peers and demonstrate practices that meet the highest standards of the profession nationwide.
"I saw it as an opportunity to strengthen our profession at a national level," Crenshaw said. "There are other professions, like doctors and lawyers, who have national certification and we as teachers have that same skill, talent and dedication but until now there's been no way to recognize that."
The NBPTS program started with a pilot project from 1994-1996. Crenshaw also participated in that program but just missed achieving national certification the first time because her portfolio needed more information.
"I had to go through it again last year and do a crunch amount of work," she said. "There's no guarantee even after you go through everything that you'll be certified."
Crenshaw put in the extra 120 hours and asked the Lawrence school district to help pay the $2,000 fee, to try a second time.
"I had come so close the first time that I knew I could do it," Crenshaw said. "It's like if you're trying out for something or trying to reach a goal, you try again."
This time her portfolio was complete and Crenshaw received the certification she wanted.
"It forced me to look at what I was doing," she said. "I could see my own activities and what I was doing well, and what I needed to work on. I looked and went, `Wow! I really have accomplished a lot for myself and my students.'"
The program also gave students an inside view of the process.
"It was a great opportunity for them to see adults setting goals and achieving them," she said.
Marcia Bone, Lawrence school district director of human resources, said the process was worth the wait.
"We're really proud of Lucinda," she said. "She's worked for a long time to achieve this level of certification. I don't think the public realizes the hard work that it takes to accomplish this. National Board Certification is a significant achievement."
Barbara Kelley, NBPTS chairwoman, agreed.
"All teachers who seek National Board Certification should be applauded for their efforts," she said. "The National Board Certification process, which takes a full school year to complete and requires intense self-reflection and analysis of one's practice, has proven to be a terrific professional development experience."
Crenshaw has been teaching for 14 years and has spent more than a decade at Deerfield School.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.