USM earns national recognition for education certification program

USM earns national recognition for education certification program

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi is earning national recognition for turning out National Board Certified Teachers.

According to graduates of the program, the certification amplifies teacher’s skills.

“What was most important for me was that it forces you to examine every decision you make as a teacher,” said Bethany Howell, an NBCT second-grade teacher at Longleaf Elementary School in Hattiesburg. “And there are so many things that are just habit or just the way things have always been done and what I have realized is that that’s not always the best way.”

Now ranked first in the Magnolia State and 12th in the nation for turning out NBCTs, USM’s World Class Teaching Program has graduated 1,073 students that have earned the NBCT credential. And, it doesn’t come easy.

“It’s a lot of different aspects of the classroom environment that you have to basically prove that you are an effective teacher in all of these areas,” Howell said.

But they know it’s worth it.

“I think I am a much more effective teacher now that I have been through the process, and I just see things differently and I use my time differently so that I am able to be as effective as possible,” Howell said.

Experts say the NBCT certification helps teachers better assist underserved schools.

“The skills that are picked up through the National Board process, the skills that are refined, really benefit students who come from backgrounds of economic deficiency or skill deficiency, which we often see in some of our rural communities,” said Dr. Noal Cochran, interim director of the USM School of Education.

For those interested in becoming a participant in USM’s World Class Teaching Program, two workshops will be offered virtually this summer, one in June and one in July.

For more on USM’s recognition, click here.

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