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AHS Educator Earns National Board Certification

“When you reach each student,” said Avon High School English Teacher Hayley Hatchett, “you reach all students.”

Hatchett, who recently became a National Board-Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, believes every student deserves to have a highly effective teacher. 

That belief, along with a mentor’s encouragement and the help of a friend who was also working through the process, drove her to pursue the most respected certification available in education.

When you reach each student, you reach all students. Hayley Hatchett

One of the biggest benefits of Hatchett’s investment in the yearlong certification process—it takes some teachers up to five years—is clarity. “Several students have recently told me that they can tell that I really care about them as individuals,” said Hatchett. “I know that’s because my certification helped me learn how to be much more effective at differentiating instruction for each of my students.”

Hatchett, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, compares the certification process to visiting the eye doctor. “Before, I was seeing blurry and I didn’t know I needed glasses,” said Hatchett. “Now, it’s like I’ve put on glasses that help me see my profession more clearly. I can look at specific aspects of my content area and I can differentiate my teaching for my students. I can see clearly now.”

Educators are eligible to pursue certification once they have a bachelor’s degree, a valid teaching license, and three years of teaching or school counseling experience. For Hatchett, the process began with portfolio work.

“The portfolio has three areas of focus,” said Hatchett, continuing the eyesight analogy. “You zoom in on the details, focus on the day-to-day components, and then zoom out observe the big picture.”

The up-close, detailed work for Hatchett came in the form of focusing on differentiated instruction, varying approaches for individual students. She gathered and submitted work samples to demonstrate student progress. Reporting of the day-to-day activities came in the form of videos that captured her classroom interactions and written reflections. Finally, she zoomed out, gathering materials demonstrating her academic leadership. She worked closely with other educators—especially the History department—to help them differentiate instruction for their students.

If they are willing to do the work, all teachers would benefit [from certification]. And as more teachers become better teachers, we’ll do a better job of reaching each student. Haylee Hatchett

The final step of Hatchett’s certification process was the completion of a detailed assessment, which she accomplished on her first attempt.

When asked what’s next, Hatchett shares her excitement for continuing to implement what she’s learned, investing herself in her students and colleagues. She suspects a master’s degree is on her horizon, but she’s going to take a little time to decide about the timing and specifics.

As one who has experienced the benefits of the process, she’ll encourage other educators to pursue certification. “If they are willing to do the work, all teachers would benefit,” says Hatchett. “And as more teachers become better teachers, we’ll do a better job of reaching each student.”

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