Middle school science teacher earns national certification

middle school science teacher seated at desk in a classroomBroadalbin-Perth Central School District proudly announces that middle school science teacher Kelly DiNatale has achieved National Board Certification. 

National Board Certification is considered to be the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education. DiNatale is the fourth teacher at Broadalbin-Perth to earn the distinction.

According to NYSUT, only 3 percent of the national teaching population has achieved this certification. It was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.

“My overall goal for my students is to be the best teacher I can be,” DiNatale said. “I want to stand in front of them and tell them I am doing everything I can to be the best teacher, and now I can say that.”

Often considered the “gold standard” of achievement, it requires teachers to demonstrate standards-based evidence of the positive effect they have on student learning. DiNatale said the process meant taking a long, hard look a pedagogy, and what she teaches, and how she teaches it. It has allowed her to reflect about her work on a deeper level, and has given her extra tools to access in the classroom.

Pursuing the certification has also made DiNatale more willing to adjust her approach in the classroom.

“It has taught me to tap into student insight,” she said, when asked to give an example. “It’s an underutilized resource. Kids will tell you what they need, or how they feel about projects and requirements. As a teacher, I might find something very important, but the kids may find something more valuable in the experience. I use their feedback when designing projects and scoring rubrics.”

This certification, created by teachers, for teachers, represents a consensus among educators about what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. Board certification is available in 25 certificate areas from pre-k through 12th grade.

To achieve the certification, DiNatale had to complete an extensive portfolio that she started two years ago. It is organized around four key components. Teacher candidates must:

  • Take a computer-based, written test in their content area;
  • Show examples of how they’ve tailored instruction to drive individual academic gains;
  • Submit videos of their classroom teaching with reflections on what did go well and what didn’t; and
  • Provide examples of ways they’ve used data and school and community resources to improve outcomes for their students.

DiNatale, a teacher for 11 years, has a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of New England, and a master’s degree in teacher education from the College of St. Rose. She has been teaching at B-P for the past seven years. She teaches science for grades 6-8, is an adviser for the National Junior Honor Society, and leads the “Splash Into Science” extracurricular program. It’s an educational travel experience that enables students to explore marine science, and features a biannual trip to the Florida Keys.

DiNatale joins Megan Floyd, Anita Stabrowski and Mariah Duell as National Board-Certified teachers at B-P.

“I’m very proud to work for a school district that supports this initiative,” DiNatale said.