Teachers from across the state can continue to seek or renew National Board certification at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, thanks to an initial grant of $30,000 awarded by the Arkansas Department of Education for the university’s support site.
Over the past nine years, UA Little Rock has grown to serve as the central location for hundreds of teachers seeking to obtain the most respected professional certificate in their field. Much of the university’s success with the certification program can be credited to Dr. Christine Deitz, who shared her self-generated support site with the university in 2008 and applied for grants that allowed the site to remain with the university.
While working to achieve National Board certification in 2003, Deitz, associate director for the UA Little Rock Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, felt unfulfilled with the support she received while working through her certification process.
“When I was a candidate, UA Little Rock was one of the support sites available,” she said. “It was coordinated by a very good professor who was asked to run the site, but wasn’t board certified.”
In search of more information, Deitz traveled to Conway to work with a board-certified instructor who shared with her insight that could only be received through certification.
“When I achieved certification,” Deitz said, “I thought, ‘Oh, this is great. I need to give back to the process, and so I’ll start my own support site.’”
Deitz created the site with the help of two other professionals and soon began hosting support meetings. As weeks passed, however, the number of attendees dropped, so Deitz sought another avenue to help garner participation.
“I went back to UA Little Rock, met with the dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, and asked if I could bring the support group back to the university,” she said.
After stating her claim, Deitz received the green light to start her support site at the university.
In the first year, Deitz started with a group of 22 candidates and two additional National Board certified teachers. This year, she is joined by 12 National Board certified support providers, 63 initial candidates, and 27 renewal candidates.
“Ever since 2008, we’ve been growing, and for years now, we’ve been the largest site in Arkansas,” Deitz said.
In addition to the support site, Deitz also created a “jumpstart” workshop to precede the National Board certification process. The one-day event begins in the fall and is free to all Arkansas teachers who are seeking certification or are interested in the certification process.
“We’re very passionate about what we do,” Deitz said. “We’re very passionate about giving back and very passionate about making sure every teacher has a pathway to be the best teacher they can be.”
Deitz has worked consistently to maintain the stability of UA Little Rock’s support site, and continually seeks funding for the program. As an educator, she will continue to improve the certification process, while ensuring the best experience for teaching professionals who hope to advance in the field.
For more information about UA Little Rock’s Center for National Board Certification, contact Deitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.