Teachers deserve an ‘A’

Besides family at home, there may be no one who influences the lives of our keiki more than teachers at their schools. It is why parents love it when their kids come home and instead of complaining about too much homework, boring classes and mean classmates, they’re raving about what they learned that day, how much fun they had and they’re ready to settle down and study even more.

And it’s no secret that a good education and a desire to soak up knowledge will pay priceless dividends over a lifetime — and will touch many lives. Great teachers are invaluable in every community and we’re blessed with many great teachers on Kauai.

It’s also why we applaud and send out kudos to the 46 Hawaii State Department of Education teachers who are among 59 Hawaii teachers to receive National Board Certification this year from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Kauai is fortunate to have three teachers — Shelly Cassler of Koloa Elementary School, Michelle Jenkins and Adam Yund from Kapaa Elementary School — among that select group. Before you wonder what’s the big deal, isn’t this just another award, know that earning this certification is difficult.

Board certification is considered the highest mark of accomplishment in the profession. It includes a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process similar to board certification in fields such as medicine. To obtain certification, teachers must demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for 21st century success.

Over the past three years, Hawaii has experienced the fastest growth in the number of National Board Certified Teachers in the nation and now has more than 500 NBCTs. Another reason this certification matters is this: research has shown that NBCTs have a significant impact on student achievement and that their students outperform their peers in other classrooms.

“The Department commends each of the 46 new NBCTs this year,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are particularly proud of the increase by neighbor island teachers whose remarkable determination and dedication resulted in their certification this year. As a state, we continue to pledge a strong commitment to supporting all teachers in their pursuit of National Board Certification.”

Teachers have a difficult, demanding job. They work with a wide range of students and parents. They don’t get rich financially by being educators, but great teachers can enrich the lives of their students perhaps beyond what we will ever know. But what we do know is we appreciate the daily efforts of all teachers to give our keiki the brightest of futures.

And congratulations to Shelly Cassler, Michelle Jenkins and Adam Yund. You may not hear it often, but thank you for going above and beyond for the sake of your students.


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