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National Board Certification Preparation

Walker School of Education

What is National Board Certification?

Grounded in the National Board’s Five Core Propositions that describe what teachers should know and be able to do, the certification process is designed to collect standards-based evidence of accomplished practice*. In all 25 certificate areas, candidates are required to complete four components. 

Component 1: Content Knowledge

Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction

Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment

Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner  

Learn more about each component here.

Why Certify?

National Board-Certified teachers prove their effectiveness in the classroom every day. Here are some reasons to become Board-Certified:

  • Students achieve more. Research shows students of Board-Certified teachers learn more than their peers without Board-Certified teachers. Board-Certified teachers are also found to have a greater positive impact on minority and low-income students.
  • Teachers (Teaching) improve(s). Obtaining the Board Certification allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom, and demonstrate their dedication to their students and their profession.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence. Schools with National Board Certified Teachers are categorized by exceptional teacher morale and retention and increased community involvement. 
  • Board Certification opens doors. Board-certified teachers are recognized as experts. Therefore, they are often sought out for leadership positions in their schools and districts.
    * Information provided by

Benefits of Becoming Nationally Board Certified in Nebraska

  • Financial Incentives. Many local school districts and professional organizations recognize National Board Certification through local agreements. 
  • State Recognition. Nebraska teachers who hold a valid certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are eligible for Master Teacher status and a Professional Teaching certificate issued by the commissioner of education. The certificate is valid for ten years, beginning with the school year in which the Master Teacher status was achieved.
  • Leadership Opportunities. Board certification can enable teachers to take on leadership roles—such as mentoring, leading professional development efforts, and advocating for policy changes—that allow them to advance their careers while staying in the classroom.
  • * Information provided by

Certification Areas

Categories for comprehensive certification include the following areas:

Curriculum Overview

Students complete 18 credits (6 courses) in a general core curriculum during the first year of course work and an additional 18 credits (6 courses) within the chosen concentration in the second year. 

Students can also complete an optional third year and complete the 18 credits in the other concentration to become MA + 18 on the salary schedule and qualify in both.

Core Year (18 Credits)

In the first year of the program, students will focus on completing their core curriculum for the Master of Education program. Students will complete the following courses:

EDU 520: Education Law and Governance (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide the Principal/Teacher candidate with knowledge about policies, laws, and regulations enacted by state, local and federal authorities that impact schools and classrooms. The candidate will use skills to influence lawmakers and advocate for equitable learning opportunities and success for all students. The candidate will understand that educators, business people, politicians, media, parents, and the public at large attempt to influence educational policy to varying degrees. The candidate will explore varying perspectives on educational improvements and use statutes, policies, research, data, and ethical standards in the decision-making process. The Candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school-based experience(s).

EDU 521: Societal Frameworks in Education (3 credits)

The Principal/Teacher candidate will understand human rights and implement guidelines that establish a school where all students, staff, and community, regardless of background, are afforded equal access and opportunity to quality education. The candidate will understand the complexities of poverty and its influence on learning, promote the success of every student and act with integrity, fairness, and an ethical manner. The candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school/community-based experience(s).

EDU 522: Transformational Leadership (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide Principal/Teacher candidates with knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will enhance the staff and students’ motivation, morale, and performance. Candidates will know how to create a culture for learning, serve as a role model, inspire, develop leadership in others and help build and support an inviting school culture that meets the needs of students, the community being served, and the staff. The candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school-based experience(s).

EDU 523: Continuous School Improvement (3 credits)

This course is designed to help Principal/Teacher candidates with the knowledge and skills to lead in developing, implementing, evaluating, and revising short and long-term goals that promote continuous and sustainable school improvement. Candidates will know how to collect and analyze data pertinent to the educational environment that promotes learning and leads to continuous quality improvement. There will be a focus on a systematic, ongoing improvement process (e.g., Nebraska Department of Education, Advanced Ed.). The candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school-based experience(s).

EDU 524: Action Research and School Improvement (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the action research process. Emphasis will be placed on three main areas: 1) helping candidates become good consumers of educational research, 2) providing foundational instruction and guidance in planning, conducting, and reporting action research, and 3) applying professional writing skills. This course is designed to give candidates the knowledge and skills that help them identify and explore research issues related to leading, teaching, and learning, particularly related to school improvement. The candidate will learn the requirements/framework for the School Improvement Action Research Paper and begin collaborating with building leadership and the Midland Candidate Advocate to identify leadership needs that could substantially assist the school with their school improvement. The candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school-based experience(s).

EDU 525: Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Programming (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide Principal/Teacher candidates with an understanding that curriculum, instruction, assessment, and programming represent a set of desired goals that are activated through a developmental process and culminate in successful learning experiences for students. The candidate will understand that a comprehensive, rigorous, and coherent curriculum, instruction, assessment, and program development are essential responsibilities of a school leader. The candidate will know how to implement district, state, and federal initiatives and assure legal compliance. The candidate will understand emerging trends in education, use best practices research, establish curriculum and instructional expectations and accountability measures, know how to lead curriculum reviews, use data to monitor student achievement, and support and develop staff. The candidate will spend a minimum of 20 clock hours in school-based experience(s).

Area of Emphasis (18 Credits)

As part of the National Board Teacher Certification Preparation curriculum students will complete the following courses:

EDU 630: Introduction to NBPTS Candidacy (3 credits)

The Midland Teacher Candidate (MTC) will become acquainted with the process for applying for “Candidacy” for National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification and begin to examine, in detail, the MTC’s teaching practices. The MTC will learn how to organize and obtain the resources for aligning practices with the Standards and engage in meaningful discussions with the cohort/learning community about effective teaching. The MTC will understand the Five Core Propositions and assess readiness and commitment level for applying for National Certification and develop a personal set of goals and timeline for the application and submission process. The MTC will practice required skills for successful application to NBPTS certification.

EDU 631: Effective Teaching (3 credits)

The Midland Teacher Candidate (MTC) will demonstrate an understanding of students and their learning needs and how the MTC makes decisions in response to student needs. The MTC will demonstrate that effective teachers are also learners who draw upon theory and research to expand the use of instructional and assessment strategies to manage and monitor student learning effectively. The MTC will become more confident with videotaping, analyzing, and reflecting on the MTC’s teaching practices, including the connection between thoughts and actions to improve student learning. These reflections will be written and part of course discussions with feedback. The MTC will understand the requirements for Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction, Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment and Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner.

EDU 632: Differentiation in Instruction (3 credits)

The Midland Teacher Candidate (MTC) will work on portfolio requirements for Component 2 and receive feedback on their writing throughout the course. For Component 2 work, the MTC will discuss instructional decisions for planning differentiated activities to promote student learning. The MTC must collect and analyze artifacts of student work that illustrate student growth in their certificate area. By the end of the course, the MTC is expected to have a complete draft of Component 2. The MTC will apply professional writing skills of description, analysis, and reflection throughout the course.

EDU 633: Effective and Reflective Practitioner (3 credits)

The Midland Teacher Candidate (MTC) will understand research on the impact of instructional coaching and teacher effectiveness, know several models for coaching, and understand the principles behind coaching. The MTC will understand how coaches are leaders of change. The MTC will know how to begin a positive coaching experience, create learning conversations, know strategies and processes for implementing effective coaching including relationship building, modeling, observing, collaborating, and data analysis. The MTC will understand the significance of focusing coaching and organizing interventions around managing student behavior, enhancing content knowledge, improving direct instruction, and implementing formative assessment.

EDU 634: Teaching Practice and the Learning Environment (3 credits)

The Midland Teacher Candidate (MTC) will continue working on NBPTS Components 2-4, in addition to preparing for Component 1 assessment center exercises that are designed for NBPTS to test content knowledge across the age range and for the specified content are requested for national certification. The MTC will have a NBCT mentor who will support his/her continued work on NBPTS components. The MTC and NBCT mentor will correspond weekly via email, in person, or video conference call. Discussions will include feedback on written commentary for Components 2-4 and the content area assessment for Component 1.

EDU 698: School Improvement Action Research Project – Capstone (3 credits)

The culminating project is a Principal Action Research Report (PARR) and two presentations. The Principal Candidate will present to a Midland panel of instructors and to an authentic audience. The PARR will synthesize coursework, experiences, and research throughout the Principal Endorsement program related to his/her school’s improvement plan. Candidates will have worked closely with a Midland University instructor and his or her school district mentor to plan action research that leads to school improvement.

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