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    OCTOBER 26, 2006
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College of Education named one of four statewide Centers for Teaching Excellence

While people on different sides of the political fence may agree on very little when it comes to education, there is one area where they all can agree: Every child deserves a top-notch teacher.

Thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Temple University will be among four Pennsylvania universities making sure that students get the very best.

At a news conference in Harrisburg last Wednesday, the Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the creation of a Center for Teaching Excellence in Temple’s College of Education.

Temple joins Duquesne, East Stroudsburg and Gannon Universities in receiving the $75,000 start-up grants. More state funding and fund raising on the part of the centers themselves will help the centers serve as many teachers as possible.

The Centers for Teaching Excellence are designed to provide experienced teachers who have the skills and the will to become nationally certified in their content areas the chance to do so by providing them with stipends, training and support, said Joseph Aguerrebere, president and CEO of the NBPTS. 

Temple’s center will be dually located on the University’s Main Campus in Philadelphia and at its satellite campus in Harrisburg, said C. Kent McGuire, dean of the College of Education and a member of the NBPTS board. The Main Campus center will serve the teachers in Southeastern Pennsylvania while the Harrisburg center will serve teachers in Central Pennsylvania.

This gives Temple a chance to help make already-good teachers in the Philadelphia area and in Central Pennsylvania better, something that the College of Education is happy to be able to do, Dean McGuire said.

“We’re thrilled to have one of the regional centers,” he said. “We see teaching not just as a professional work, but as a calling. It’s a true profession, and national board certification is one of the clearest embodiments of that. Temple looks forward to working in Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania to identify and support teachers as they move through the certification process.”

The idea of giving teachers extra training comes from an industry model, Aguerreberre explained. In business, people who go out and get more training are considered masters in their trade. Students deserve the same from their teachers, he said.

Currently, Pennsylvania has 250 of the nation’s 47,500 NBPTS certified teachers, Aguerrebere said.

“Our goal is to double it,” he said. “If teachers are held to a high standard, it helps to build a stronger profession that we can all be proud of that meets the needs of all students. This is an important step forward.”

Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged $1.2 million toward the certification effort, said Gerald Zahorchak, Pennsylvania’s secretary of education.

Since Pennsylvania’s children aren’t just competing against the rest of the nation, but also the world, they have to be academically prepared, Zahorchak added.

“We’ve made the investments we’ve made because we realize that teachers matter a great deal,” he said. “Good teachers produce good students, but great teachers produce great students. Board-certified teachers make an impact.”

The new centers are expected to be up and running late this month, according to the NBPTS. For more information, visit www.nbtps.org or www.pde.k12.pa.us.

- Denise Clay

 

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