Originally created 10/11/00

County increases pay for teachers



Columbia County teachers who receive national certification will be rewarded with a one-time 5 percent pay increase.

On Tuesday, school board members unanimously approved a policy that creates the pay raise for teachers who obtain certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

"I think if anyone completes the National Board certification, they deserve some type of reward," board Chairman Ray Hicks said. "It's very deserving."

Currently, there are no teachers in Columbia County public schools who hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, but there are 23 teachers who are working toward such certification.

The raise would occur the year after certification.

And to attract teachers who currently hold National Board certification, Columbia County will pay an additional 5 percent salary increase the first year of employment to teachers hired with the certification.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit organization and sets advanced standards in 30 teaching certificate fields for primary- and secondary-school teachers.

The certification process involves a yearlong assessment of a teacher's knowledge in a subject and how effectively he teaches his subject. Candidates also are judged on their ability to manage and measure student learning.

This year, Georgia's education reform act increased the pay-raise for nationally certified teachers to 10 percent.

Connie Davis, personnel director for Columbia County schools, said that while the pay raise is nice, teachers seeking the certification want to improve themselves professionally.

"Certainly what we hope is it will be an incentive," Ms. Davis said. "It's a big commitment."

In Georgia, there are about 60 teachers with national certification, and in the United States, there are 4,804. About 429 teachers in Georgia have applied to seek certification in the 2000-2001 school year.

Reach Peggy Ussery at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 112.