ASMSA biology instructor earns national teacher certification

8 months ago

Dr. Patrycja Krakowiak, a biology instructor at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, recently earned National Board Certified Teacher recognition by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

National Board Certified Teachers are accomplished educators who have earned the profession’s highest mark of achievement through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process that demonstrates their proven impact on student learning and achievement.

Krakowiak was among 203 teachers statewide who earned certification in December 2017. There were 470 candidates for National Board Certification in Arkansas in 2017. She was one of four teachers statewide to earn certification in the “Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood” category.

Arkansas typically ranks among the top 10 states with the most new National Board Certified Teachers, according to the National Board’s website. The state offers comprehensive support to selected teachers interested in pursuing board certification, including fee support, a state candidate support program and three paid release days for teachers who have been chosen for the state support system.

Krakowiak said that becoming a National Board Certified Teacher was unlike any other task she has undertaken.

“Because it can be difficult as a teacher to find ways to advance professionally, National Board Certification offers a rare and unparalleled opportunity to discover new pedagogical approaches, increase student engagement and improve student learning,” she said.

“For me, it has been a grueling, intense and meaningful experience beyond anything else I have ever accomplished as a teacher or scientist. It reaffirmed my conviction that everything I do in the classroom should have a purpose and be designed to instruct in the most efficient way possible. For education to be truly transformative, students must be excited about and take responsibility for what they are learning. A teacher’s role is to be an effective guide along this journey.”

The National Board Certification process took Krakowiak several years to officially complete. She earned her state teacher certification through a nontraditional process that included several summer sessions as well as monthly weekend sessions. She then had to serve three years as a certified teacher in order to apply for a scholarship from the state for the national certification process.

The national certification process is comprised of four components that includes a standardized exam that covers a broad range of science knowledge for high school-aged students; a content-learning component; content delivery and student engagement assessment via video-recorded lessons; and a professional development component that focuses on providing educational benefits for students. Each component included a large amount of descriptive, analytical and reflective writing, Krakowiak said.

“It quickly became abundantly clear, after I read the ‘book’ of standards that exists for each discipline, that the road to National Board Certification would be very long and bumpy; however, once I reached the destination, it felt like I had climbed to the top of a very tall mountain. I felt utterly exhausted but also exhilarated, and as I glanced at the promising landscape all around me, I felt the trip was well worth the effort,” Krakowiak said.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to advance accomplished teaching for all students. The organization was established in 1987.

“National Board Certification is about helping teachers become great, it is about elevating the teaching profession, and it is about helping children achieve at higher rates,” said Peggy Brookins, NBCT, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “School principals, superintendents and other system leaders from across the country regularly tell me that NBCTs are making a difference in their students’ learning, strengthening their schools and communities.”

To learn more about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, visit

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