When is the Best Time to Start National Board Certification?

So you want to complete the National Board Certification process in one year or you may be saying when is the best time to start the National Board certification process if I want to complete it in one year? The short answer is it should be started as early as possible in the school year. Many teachers start working through the standards for the process in the summer before they actually begin the process and others learn the standards as they go along.


I’ve developed a New Candidate Academy to help initial candidates jump start into National Board Certification.  This three day event will help you in getting started on National Board Certification and help you figure out when you should complete each component of the process. This academy will take you through how the process works, how an assessor scores your portfolios and how to prepare to earn a passing score on each component for NBPTS.


I've also taken the time to create an NBPTS calendar of fun (as seen in the image below-- click the image to download a PDF copy) because national board certification is fun for me and this visual shows you how it could be manageable and fun for you too!  

I would start with Component 4 between the months of August, September, October, since that's the largest component and it's the hardest to get through in my opinion. Other people agree with me that it is the most difficult, but the number one reason you should tackle it first is because it is sure to grow you into a National Board Certified teacher. Remember, this order is my opinion - take it or leave it - the choice is yours! 

 (Click the Calendar Below to Download)

You may be reading this blog and saying to yourself… it’s already winter - what should I do now?  I want to get started with National Board Certification but I’m just not sure I could get it all done. Look at the possibility of working on one or two of the portfolio components this year if the thought of all that stress is too overwhelming for you. This means you would only pay for the ones that you intend on completing and submitting by the approximate May 17th deadline (changes from year to year).  This option is way more popular than the option of cramming them all into a couple of months and praying you do well. In addition, the cost of doing it this way is also way less. I don’t know about you, but I love being more sure of myself than being stressed about the potential of not achieving something I have worked so hard on.


Next, I would work on Component 3 which is the video based component. As I have already stated, Component 4 of the National Board Certification process is really going to turn you into a national board certified teacher. Thinking about the time of year that is best for Component 3, I think it is important to recognize when your students are taking ownership in their learning, engaging in lessons at a deeper level, and you have had the opportunity to teach your students to get to a deeper level of knowledge and application of skills while also working in a well run classroom community.


After completing Component 3 of the National Board Certification process, I would move right into Component 2. This component has you completing something like a case study of a couple of students that you choose. You will be primed and ready to get started immediately into this portfolio after the learning and growth you had around assessment in Component 4.  Your mind will be in a diagnostic and reflective state where you will find it much easier to analyze the student needs and learning growth within the student work samples or assessment data.


Finally, Component 1 of the National Board Certification is where you actually go to the assessment center. The window of opportunity to take the 45 question multiple choice test and three constructed response pieces doesn’t even open until April of the year you submit.  Therefore you will turn everything else in and then start your studies for Component 1. Many teachers choose to wait until the end of June or into July (the window usually stays open until the 15th of July) to give plenty of time for getting to know the content and practicing the constructive response sample questions.  Component 1 and Component 3 offer you the most points in the totality of the process.  Therefore, you want to give them the time they deserve but also be as ready as possible when you finally embark on starting them.


The most important thing to remember about getting started on national board certification is to find some kind of cohort in your district, state, or online to support you throughout the process.  The cohort holds you accountable and offers you a place to bounce ideas off of others going through the same process as you. Getting started with national board certification also means that you need to get your standards printed out for your certificate area so that you can become one with those standards. As somebody who's been coaching and supporting candidates for more than 25 years, I'm going to say you need to jump start into  national board certification as soon as your school year gets going and especially if you're going to be an all in candidate completing all four components in one year.


I invite you to take part in my online program for Component 4 and Component 3 of the NBPTS Certification Process. My program takes you step by step through these components including standards work, planning, templates, and much more to keep you from procrastinating or feeling too overwhelmed. I help take the guesswork out of the process. For more information on these initial NBPTS component courses, CLICK HERE. 


 Here’s to having fun with this process and growing big by the end! 


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