Two Canyons District educators have joined the elite ranks of teachers to earn a National Board Certification. Philippe Vanier, a science teacher at Eastmont middle, and Anne Clyde, an achievement coach at Jordan Valley, recently completed the rigorous certification process overseen by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The voluntary program is widely regarded as the gold standard in teacher certification, requiring years of work for completion. “It feels good to be able to get it and to reach that standard,” Vanier said. “I wanted a professional development experience to help push me to the next level. It helped me hone in my teaching practice.”
Vanier and Clyde were recently recognized for their achievement by the Utah State Board of Education, Canyons Board of Education and the Utah Legislature. Statewide, only 269 teachers have the certification, and as of 2011, less than three percent of the nation’s educators have become National Board Certified Teachers.
In Utah, teachers are able to receive reimbursement for the costs associated with the certification process. Through a law passed in 2016, known as Utah Legislative House Bill 331, teachers can be compensated if they meet certain criteria in the certification process.
The certification is a standard that was established by educators. A task force of policy makers, educators, teacher associations and business leaders combined to create the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and established five core propositions for teaching, which form the basis of the National Board Standards.
Vanier, who hails from Montreal, Canada, wanted to receive the certification to build on his teaching skills. Through the process, he examined data on his students’ progress and reviewed films of himself teaching his classes. The exercise was enlightening, Vanier says.
“The one thing that it made me do is reflect on what I really wanted out of a school,” he said. “I realized as much as I worked hard to support my students, being part of a system I was a good match for made a huge difference as well. I also realized I was doing a lot of the right things, but I wasn’t doing them well enough.”
For Clyde, the certification was a reminder that teaching is a practice, and that learning is a process, not a product. Clyde pursued the certification while she worked on her Master’s degree. “What is really special about the National Board, it doesn’t matter if what you do (in the classroom) passes and has the impact you want to see or if you fail,” Clyde says. “The bigger purpose is to have you learn from the experience and help you to become a more impactful teacher.”
Clyde says she learned she didn’t need to overcomplicate instruction with manipulatives, and that sometimes she needed to allow her students to turn to each other to solve problems. She draws on these lessons to help other teachers at Jordan Valley. “There is so much to learn and it can be so overwhelming, but we put together the goal of, ‘Let’s get these big pieces in place,’ and how are you working with your students and parents,” Clyde says. “Those are the biggest nuggets in learning how to be a great teacher.”