National Certification - For Principals

Here's a note that went out recently to principals asking them to consider participating in a pilot "national certification" program that's rolling out this year -- intended to be the equivalent of the NBTS certificate for teachers.  The district having already fired 33 NBC teachers, will principals be inclined to participate?  Good question.  Another question is whether schools or classrooms with NBCT teachers actually do all that much better than "regular" teachers" -- the debate rages.  Click below for the letter.

Dear Principals:

We wanted to apprise you of an opportunity to be part of creating a national certification for school leaders - one in which we expect to be similar in stature and credibility as that of the National Board Certification Standards for teachers. 

Specifically, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is creating a principal certification - National Board Certification for Principals (NBCEL). As part of the development process, NBPTS is accepting applicants for a nation-wide field test this fall (September 2010).  We encourage you to consider participating in the field test of the National Board Certification for Principals.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will define and validate the assessment that identifies an accomplished principal thereby building prestige for the profession. This certification is part of the National Board Certification for Educational Leaders (NBCEL) program, which will include certifications for principals, assistant principal and teacher leaders and builds on the National Board's 20-year, highly successful program, National Board Certification for Teachers.  

Chicago has been a leader in participation in the National Board Certification for Teachers process and is excited about the opportunity to experience the same success with school leaders.

Eligibility Requirements: The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is accepting applicants for a nation-wide field test.  

·         Principals with a minimum of (1) three years experience as a principal, (2) a valid state principal license and (3) a bachelor's degree are eligible to participate.

·         The assessment process for principals is comprised of six steps or entries.

·         The field test will take place from September 2010 - June 2012.

·         If you are interested, you should visit and click onRegister to Participate

·         Frequently Asked Questions page can also be accessed at this site, but an excerpt is listed below for your convenience. 

·         Selection of pilot participants will be done by Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and NBPTS.

·         Registration to participate does not guarantee selection in the pilot. 

Principal Candidate FAQ

Why should there be a National Board Certification for Principals? 
The purpose of the NBPTS principal certification is to recognize accomplished school leaders who improve student learning, retain talented teachers, and foster school involvement among parents and the community. A national certification for principals will help build prestige for the profession and for professionals. It will recognize and increase retention among school leaders. The National Board initiative will be the first national certification for accomplished principals and is the first phase of an expanded National Board Certification for Educational Leaders, ultimately to include assistant principals and teacher leaders. Its process and development is based on the Board's highly successful National Board Certification for Teachers.

What is the purpose of the national principal certification field test? 
The purpose of the field test is to validate the national principal certification process and scoring. During the field test, which will occur from August 2010 to June 2012, a national sample of principals will participate in the certification process. NBPTS will work with the participants throughout the process to ensure that it is accessible, fair, and meaningful for participants; that the content reflects the most essential elements of the NBPTSAccomplished Principal Standards; and that the tasks can be completed within a reasonable timeframe and without undue burden to principals. Field test results will be used to fine-tune the accuracy of scoring procedures and study the short-term outcomes of certification for successful participants.
How will participation in the field test benefit principals? 
The six required entries for certification were defined and developed by a panel of distinguished principal practitioners and nationally-respected researchers convened by NBPTS. Their charge was to capture the types of skills, practices, and leadership behaviors that research suggests are associated with healthy school cultures, strong classroom instruction, and engaged student learning, leading to high levels of teaching and learning. Principals will have an opportunity to reflect on their leadership practice against the NBPTSAccomplished Principal Standards.
Participation in the field test is free of charge. If the field test process shows the assessment is a valid evaluation of accomplished principal practice, participants will receive national board certification if their submissions meet certification standards. If principals do not meet the requirements, should National Board policy allow, they may continue their candidacy through a second year.
Leaders in each field test state are working toward establishing incentives for completing the field test, such as awarding professional learning units that can be used toward license or certificate renewal and/or awarding graduate credit from local universities. Many states are evaluating the addition of accomplished principal designations to their tiered principal licensure systems. These designations are meant to distinguish accomplished principals who possess the characteristics, skills, and dispositions described in the NBPTS National BoardAccomplished Principal Standards.
How can participation in the field test benefit your school community?
Principals will undergo learning and reflection that research suggests can lead to improved practice throughout the schools. Elements of the certification process involve all stakeholders in the school community, including teachers, students, parents, and community members at large, with a focus on demonstrating and building effectiveness and efficacy among them.
How will participants be selected? 
Participants will be selected by SREB to ensure that there is a balance sample of principals across a range of states, school types, years of experience, and principal characteristics. Selected principals will be notified by email on a rolling basis from August 10 through September 30, 2010.
What is the process principals will complete during the field test?
The certification process is comprised of a series of assignments, or "performance entries," that assess accomplished principal school practices, specifically those thought to most impact student learning, achievement, and school effectiveness. To meet the requirements of these entries, principals will engage in a range of tasks, including data analysis, written reflections, video analysis, and interviews. All entries will be submitted electronically and scored by a panel of practicing principals at the appropriate developmental levels. Participants will need access to a computer and a high-speed Internet connection to successfully complete and submit entries.


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  • who's rosen, and what's she do (or not do)? please explain / give specific evidence - otherwise i'll probably have to take this down as unsubstantiated / alexander

  • Although many blame Uberman for the problems, look who took control of CPS for over twenty years, Daley. Put the blame where it belongs. Little D has allowed this culture to grow at central office. I am amazed at how the public has tolerated those with no experience in the teaching profession to become the decision makers. In other professions, doctors are in charge of a medical board, lawyers run the bar, but teachers are not in charge of CPS. How unprofessional!

  • Back to the actual question. I have some reservations about the concept of a real national board certification in school administration. The basic idea is that certification is portable across state borders.. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) has developed the Interstate Agreement for administrators. The following states already have agreements with each other for administrators:

    District of Columbia
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Carolina
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota

    So 32 of the 50 states already have national certification. What exactly is the point of this since all of these programs already require that administrators have at least numerous credit hours at the graduate level in education administration? If the graduate school progams in school administration are bad then these programs should be made more rigorous.

    The idea that NBPTS principal certification will some how codify accomplished school principals "who improve student learning, retain talented teachers, and foster school involvement among parents and the community" seems absurd. The codification of this is the actual success of the school not some jump through the hoop NBTS projects. Superintendents who cannot check out principal's prior achievements without this new document should themselves not have jobs.

    Rod Estvan

  • Yet, LSCs can only hire those deemed eligible by OPPD and the process is controlled by the clueless. (To be fair, OPPD did hire one former principal of a failing school who voluntarily abandoned ship while it was sinking.) Interestingly, OPPD has also hired retired principals of failing schools to "test" and determine eligibility of principal candidates.

  • Principals, DON'T DO IT! Ron Huberman will be gone when the new mayor is elected!

  • Ron Huberman already has his exit strategy in place along with Mayor Daley and Jodi Weis for sure. If Daley really cared for the City of Chicago he would have trusted educators to take care of the needs of the Chicago Public School students and would have picked a police officer from the ranks who knows the city to head up the Chicago Police Department. The next mayor will not tolerate non-educators being in charge of education and a FBI officer trying to do a big city police officers job threatening the security of every citizen and child in the Chicagoland area.

    It is time for all principals to stand up against ego-centric dictating non-educators like Monica Rosen with no experience in child development, instruction, assessment and school administration to tell you how to do your job! The insanity must end and the future for our children must prevail. Do not go through a flawed certification process in the short term that will not be sustained. We all have the power to lead by example and do what is right.

    You all know the next Mayor and CPS administration will get rid of all the non-educator programs, plans, and processes in place to create a new vision for education in the City of Chicago that will support the needs of principals, teachers and be student-centered. The time is near and all you have to do is get out and vote!!!

  • You need a reality check and Monica Rosen continues to be the bully!!!

  • This model that was spearheaded and designed by Monica Rosen is not based on studies with high external validity which matter most when evaluating performance of principals. It seems all you care about is whether this system is technically valid and reliable instead of respecting educators professional expertise and judgement. If this model is being used elsewhere shame on you all educators careers and childrens' future are at stake! No other profession allows non-professionals to evaluate their performance.

  • In reply to DDDM:

    can anyone describe the model, or give us a link to it, or detail how it compares to other areas? is this a debate about one model vs. another, or about a model vs. professional judgement?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    This debate is about the current OPPD model of evaluating principals performance vs research-based reliability and validity that meets the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing that support the effectiveness of the approach, with no contradictory evidence of similar quality before implementing in CPS.

    There is no evidence of correlation research with strong statistical controls for selection bias and for discerning influence of endogenous factors and no contrary evidence.

    There no evidence of validity from samples adequately representative of the population on which the model is focused.

    There is no evidence of one large, well designed, randomized controlled, multisite trial that meets DOE research standards and supports the effectiveness of the current OPPD model, with no contradictory evidence or similar quality.

    Unbiased research-based evidence of the effectiveness of models matters most when evaluating the professional expertise, judgement, performance, and instructional decisions of principals and teachers.

    Principals, teachers, and support staff need full support, adequate funding and the respect of parents, education and business leaders to motivate and accelerate student achievement.

    Educators should not be the scapegoat for non-educators poor judgements in spearheading performance management models in education that have not been validated by educational research standards and do not accelerate significant continuous student improvement.

    Look at the studies from countries with the highest student achievement and you will find the emphasis has and continues to be on supporting principals and teachers with an enormous amount of professional development opportunities focused on the "art of teaching" accelerating improved teacher motivation and student achievement.

    There are many outstanding schools in CPS where principals and teachers who deserve the credit have accelerated student achievement by implementing very successful instructional practices that should be studied, shared to include critical friends visitations and replicated based on the needs of students.

    The CPS system does not have a district vision for systemic professional learning communities that inspire, motivate and provide structured time for educators to collaborate and form testable hypotheses with action plans based on the school-wide common assessment data to identify promising interventions or instructional modification.

    The MBA performance management business model applied to education does not work just check it out in the Harvard Review!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Ron Huberman is telling his "inner circle" that he is looking for a new job once a new mayor is elected in the City of Chicago! Remember, the CEO serves at the "whim" of the mayor of the City of Chicago!

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