February 2, 2013


Teacher gets national certification


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Parker Elementary School physical education teacher Nick Kline spots second-grader Rayna Pierson on the uneven bars Friday while teaching gymnastics. Kline recently completed an advanced teaching certification.

Staff Reporter

Nick Kline decided a few years ago that it was time to think about his career path as a teacher.
His choice led him to become the Cortland Enlarged City School District’s latest teacher to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Kline, 34, a physical education teacher at Parker Elementary School for seven years, received the national designation after a lengthy process that involves completing “assessor training” and showing expertise.
The NBPTS website said expertise covers commitment to students, knowledge of the subject, monitoring student learning, systematic thinking about their practice and how they learn from it, and serving as members of a learning community.
Kline said the process of being assessed allowed him to think more about his teaching methods and goals.
“With all the national and state movement to improve teaching, it seemed like a good idea,” he said, noting that physical education has changed over the years to focus on lifelong health skills and encouraging children to exercise.
“I wanted to further my professional growth,” he said recently. “I was deciding whether to do the Certificate of Advanced Study to become an administrator, or work on a PhD. I decided those were not the directions to go.”
Kline is the fifth Cortland teacher to receive the national designation, following high school social studies teacher Lori Megivern in 2004, Virgil Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Amorena Tellaeche in 2008, Parker Elementary School remedial teacher Lynn Brown in 2009 and Virgil Elementary School special education teacher Karen Avery in 2010.
The NBPTS certified 4,980 teachers across the nation in 2012, its website said. Kline was certified on Nov. 17.
The certification is a credential that complements a state credential and is valid for 10 years. The cost is $65 to apply and $2,500 for the process, which involves 10 assessments that are reviewed by teachers in the applicant’s certification area. The assessments include four portfolios focused on teaching practice and six constructed response exercises to assess content knowledge, the web site said.
Teachers submit evidence that includes videos of themselves in the classroom and student work samples.
Kline said he started with an assessment module that shows a teacher where he or she stands in beginning the certification. He said about 10 teachers in the district began with him, then two others were pursuing the credential until they decided they did not have time.
Kline said he received some state grant money to help with the cost, and was mentored by Tellaeche, who helped him edit and revise his portfolios. He said Megivern also encouraged him to pursue the credential.
Kline graduated from Cortland High School in 1997 and received a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and master’s degree from SUNY Cortland. He serves as president of the high school’s alumni association.


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