Yeargan receives National Board Certification

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama State Department of Education celebrated the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ National Board Certified Teachers Week Jan. 8-12.

Maplesville High School teacher Brittany Yeargan is Chilton County’s most recent addition to this accomplished group of educators.

Yeargan received national board certification in Early/Middle Childhood Literacy in December 2017.

She completed all of the requirements and achieved a passing score in nine months on her first attempt.

Due to a computer glitch, Yeargan actually saw her scores, indicating she had achieved the needed cumulative score, three weeks before official scores were released.

“I was so excited,” Yeargan said. “I cried. I just felt so accomplished.”

According to Yeargan, only 40 percent of teachers are certified on their first try, so she had mentally “prepared for failure.”

Three weeks of cautious optimism followed as Yeargan wondered if the scores were accurate.

When the official numbers were released, the scores were the same.

She was a National Board Certified Teacher.

“It was the best Christmas ever,” Yeargan said. “It really was.”

National Board Certification requires teachers to complete four components with a cumulative score of 110 to be certified. For Yeargan, these components were a test, two 15-minute videos of students “working cooperatively” and an explanation paper, documentation and a 11- to 13- page paper outlining a student’s progress in literacy and demonstration of how summative and formative (formal and informal) assessments are used in the classroom.

While Yeargan admits doing all four in one year was crazy, she emphasized that this format worked best her, her family and her students. Since teachers have to wait six months to receive their scores on a completed component, Yeargan said going through the waiting process multiple times would have been “too stressful.”

“I can’t put my family through it. I can’t put my students through it and my coworkers because everyone played a role in me being able to become certified,” Yeargan said.

She set a timeline for herself and focused on one component at a time to get done on time, saving the test component for last.

“The whole process is reflecting on yourself as an educator, and to me that was very important,” Yeargan said. “Throughout the process, I told myself, ‘Certification or no certification, I have definitely become a better educator.'”

The desire to pursue national certification had been in the back of Yeargan’s mind for years. She first thought about it during her second year of teaching.

“Some teachers that I had worked with had gone through the process and received their certification, and I saw how it had made a difference in their teaching,” Yeargan said. “Teachers are life-long learners. We are always looking to see what we can do to make things better in the classroom.”

However, it was not a good time to start the process.

When Yeargan came to teach at MHS, she again considered national certification, but never seriously pursued it.

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, MHS administration asked teachers to set a goal for the year.

Yeargan wrote down her goal “to become a national certified teacher” and began the process.

The Regional In-service Education Center through The University of Montevallo hosted meetings with a Candidate Support Provider, who gave feedback to the candidates as they worked on their components. Fellow candidates also discussed their progress and projects.

Yeargan holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education.

Yeargan is one of only two Chilton County Schools teachers that are National Board Certified. Julie Harrison received her national certification in Art/ Early and Middle Childhood in 2014.