Frequently Asked Questions
What is National Board Certification?
National Board Certification is the highest level of certification teachers can earn. It is a voluntary certification system developed by The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which sets and maintains high, rigorous standards that measure what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.
The Standards, which have been established in 25 certificate areas, are based on and incorporate Five Core Propositions:
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
- Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
- Teachers are members of learning communities.
What is Nurturing Teacher Leadership?
The Quest Center’s Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL) program, is the sole National Board Certification candidate support provider for Chicago Public School teachers, librarians, and counselors. NTL supports first-time candidates, retake candidates, and National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) who are maintaining their certificates. NTL, a Chicago Teachers Union/Chicago Public Schools partnership program, is recruiting its 27th cohort of candidates, and will provide fully underwritten professional development and candidate support for the 2024/2025 through 2025/2026 school years. NTL has a success rate of more than 92%, significantly higher than the national success rate of 70%.
How much does NBPTS certification and the Nurturing Teacher Leadership support program cost and is financial assistance available?
- The full cost of the NBPTS certification application is $1900 with an additional non-refundable $75 yearly candidate application fee.
- At this time, ISBE funds the cost of the NBPTS certification application, but not the $75 annual candidate application fee, through the National Board Resource Center (NBRC) at Illinois State University. Applicants should visit the NBRC information page at https://nbrc.illinoisstate.edu for more details about qualifying and applying for this funding.
- The 2-year Nurturing Teacher Leadership professional development and candidate support program is FREE to CTU members. The cost for candidate support, up to $11,000, is funded by the Chicago Public Schools.
What are the advantages of pursuing National Board Certification through NTL?
National Board Certification through Nurturing Teacher Leadership:
- Provides 30 CPS Lane Placement Credits
- Provides first access to Teacher Leadership roles such as consulting teachers and Framework Specialists
- Offers opportunities for 18 hours of graduate credit and a Master’s degree (optional)
- Strengthens teaching practice and improves student learning
- Provides a meaningful, job-embedded, and personally rewarding professional development experience
- Is recognized as meeting all hours of professional growth required for renewal of an ISBE Professional Educators License
- Offers an annual, pensionable salary stipend
What support can I expect from Nurturing Teacher Leadership?
- A summer institute in early August
- Throughout the 2-year process, whole cohort and certificate-alike small group meetings led by experienced CPS National Board Certified Teacher-facilitators
- Weekly professional development
- Mentoring by NBCTs
- External coaching as needed
- Virtual reading of NBPTS portfolio components
- Technical and collaborative support
- Preparation for rigorous Assessment Center Exercises
- Resource materials
- Retake and NBCT Certificate Maintenance of Certification (renewal) support
What requirements must I meet to be a part of the process?
- Have completed 3 years of teaching in the certificate area in which you are seeking NB Certification
- Agree to teach in CPS for the two years of the certification process and for one year following completion.
- Be teaching in the certificate area at least 51% of the time
- Hold a valid Illinois Professional Educators License
- Attend a recruitment session
- Complete the NTL Profile
- Work in a Chicago Public School as a PAT or Tenured teacher, librarian, or counselor
What do I have to do to become an NBCT?
To become an NBCT, a National Board Certification candidate responds to a Portfolio of four components. The Portfolio is submitted to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for scoring, by your peers, against rubrics that reflect mastery of the certificate-area standards and the Five Core Propositions.
The four components are:
- Content Knowledge – A timed selected response exam of 45 items along with 3 written assessments of content knowledge
- Differentiation in Instruction – Reflection on individualization through analysis of student work samples demonstrating growth over time
- Teaching Practice and Learning Environment – Videos and analyses of teaching practice and impact on student learning
- Effective and Reflective Practitioner – Demonstration of understanding of and use of data to document learning and the impact on teaching and learning of professional collaboration and outreach to families and community
How can I join the Nurturing Teacher Leadership National Board professional development and candidate support program??
The first step is to come to a recruitment meeting to learn more about National Board Certification and about the NTL program.