UA Little Rock Jodie Mahony Center receives $55k grant to provide workshops for Arkansas teachers

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

The Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $55,241 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education to provide workshops and training to candidates seeking National Board Teacher Certification. 

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving effectiveness in education and teaching. Offering 25 areas of certification, NBPTS is the most respected professional certification available to teachers serving in K-12 education.

“This is the highest level of professional development a teacher can attain,” said Dr. Christine Deitz, associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center. “It’s like passing the bar for a lawyer, and is the most meaningful professional development a classroom teacher can go through. What the process does for learning is no less than remarkable! The proof is in the students.”

Earning the National Board Teacher Certification is a vigorous process that can take 1-3 years. Teachers complete a comprehensive exam of content knowledge and a portfolio emphasizing three classroom components.  

“The National Board Teacher Certification site at UA Little Rock, which Christine Deitz leads, works with teachers across all 25 areas of certification,” said Dr. Ann Robinson, director of the Jodie Mahony Center. “She works with a team of 16 expert teachers.”

UA Little Rock currently serves more than 130 teachers annually and is the largest support site in the state.

“UA Little Rock is the reason we are able to achieve this,” Deitz said. “We receive amazing support from the School of Education. Dean Ann Bain and Bruce Smith of the School of Education have continued to support this program by making sure that facilities and personnel, are available. That level of support is critical  if you want to have the largest and best National Board Teacher Certification site in the state. It takes all hands on deck.”

The grant will cover expenses related to the support and training of candidates working toward National Board Teacher Certification. These workshops, which are held twice a month until May, will provide essential knowledge and skills associated with accomplished and effective teaching.

UA Little Rock facilitators will also offer two one-day Saturday workshops in May and June to help candidates complete their application for the Arkansas Department of Education’s National Board Candidate funding.

“We are here to support teachers very passionately, very sincerely in their efforts to achieve National Board Certification,” Deitz said. “The state recognizes certification as a very important professional process that has a direct and positive impact on student learning.  The process also develops teacher leaders. The state offers a yearly bonus to National Board teachers, and some districts offer an extra salary incentive.”

Teachers interested in taking National Board Certification for up to nine hours of graduate credit can contact the Jodie Mahony Center at 501-569-3410 for more information.

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