VERONA — Elizabeth Folberg, a teacher of English language learners at Stoner Prairie Elementary School, had looked into obtaining her National Board Certification 15 to 20 years ago.
But she had just started working as a foreign language teacher in Ohio and had not been teaching for three years in the same role and in the same school, which was required, and then she wound up moving around some.
About 13 years ago, after Folberg started working in the Verona Area School District, she again considered obtaining the national recognition but was doing other professional development. The final push came three years ago when Folberg had earlier reached the maximum pay raise awarded for classes and credits and the Verona Area School District decided to start offering a pay increase to certified teachers.
The certification came with a 4.5 percent increase in pay and the satisfaction that she is doing more than “delivering some kind of curriculum you’ve been handed,” Folberg said. She said that is especially important because as a teacher of English language learners she is working with families who have to rely on blind faith in the educational system.
“I owe it to my students and families,” she said.
They learned in December she was among 12 staff members in the Verona Area School District who had passed the certification. Up until this year, the district had only eight teachers total who had gone through the process over the years. The 20 teachers still represent only about 4 percent of the district’s teaching staff, according to Jason Olson, human resources director for the district. But they are part of a growing trend for teachers to seek the certification.
Madison Teachers Inc. is one of the teachers’ organizations that has been working with the Wisconsin Education Association Council to provide monthly training workshops for Wisconsin teachers going through the process.
“By providing the support, we promote this and let them know there is support available to achieve that,” said Doug Keillor, executive director of MTI.
The interest in certification also has increased since it has become more challenging for teachers to receive pay increases, Keillor said.
Madison teachers who are certified get an annual $1,500.