For Sabrina Raugutt, pursuing a certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was hardly a solo venture.
Raugutt, a teacher at West Middle School, spent the past three years working for the honor, a process that involved plenty of research, study and hard work. Raugutt had already received her master's degree, but earning the National Board Certification represented an entirely different level of intensity. For those in the teaching professions, the National Certification is one of the highest marks of accomplishment.
"It's a hard process," Raugutt said, adding that the National Board certification was like studying for a highly individualized master's degree. "There's a lot to figure out, but it's all about what's best for the students, and the best kind of instruction I can provide."
The focus on the students and the craft of teaching had an impact in the classroom and beyond long before Raugutt officially achieved her goal. As she worked toward the certification and implemented the lessons gleaned from all the hard work, she saw an immediate impact on the students in her classroom. What's more, other teachers at West were positively impacted by Raugutt's work, incorporating task analyses and other strategies in their own classrooms.
Earning her certification was an interactive, communal process, one that drew data from firsthand classroom experience and incorporated input from real students and colleagues.
"It's a joy to think that as I've been working hard these three years, my students have been able to see it," Raugutt said during a ceremony held Feb. 8 at SARC celebrating the 21 newly certified and three recertified CCSD teachers. "There's a great joy that I get out of that."
Raugutt was only one of a dedicated group of CCSD teachers who put in the work to hone their teaching skills and make a difference for their students. During the ceremony, district administrators came together to celebrate this hard work and acknowledge the teachers' place in long line of dedicated professionals in the district. Cherry Creek School District teachers have been earning certifications for almost 20 years. What more, CCSD boasts more than 150 board certified teachers, the third-highest number for a single district in the state.
As the latest crop of board certified teachers gathered to celebrate their achievements, their family, friends and colleagues offered the brand of congratulations that one would expect at a college graduation. Certified teachers were treated to balloons, cards and heartfelt expressions of gratitude.
"There are some things that are really important, and today we're here to celebrate a huge number of our teachers who decided to take their work a step further," said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull during the ceremony. "You were great teachers and you went a step above; you embarked on a journey that was challenging and rewarding.
"I say congratulations and thank you," he added.
Sarah Frederick, an Instructional Coach at Ponderosa Elementary, accepted the challenge for the second time, opting to recertify. Frederick reapplied herself for the sake of her students and her peers; making sure she was up to date on her craft was a priority.
"I'm really proud. This is not easy; it's not as easy as going for your master's degree," Frederick said. "It can take a few times, but it's helped me in my role as I coach and guide teachers in an in-depth way. It's really special."
The Cherry Creek Schools teachers who achieved National Board Certification in 2017 are:
- Amanda Arlington, Grandview High School
- Amy Beswick, Highline Elementary School
- Michael Chimento, Cherokee Trail High School
- Tammy Dodson, Grandview High School
- Maureen Elliott, Eaglecrest High School
- Brenda Fletcher, Fox Ridge Middle School
- Kelly Jones-Wagy, Overland High School
- Janet Kelsey, Village East Elementary School
- Katrina Kirsch, Heritage Elementary School
- Katie Kleeman, Smoky Hill High School
- Andrea Lohse, Prairie Middle School
- Ken Long, Willow Creek Elementary School
- Tom Michel, Cherry Creek High School
- Susan Moynahan, Sunrise Elementary School
- Andi Nye, Cherry Creek High School
- Sabrina Raugutt, West Middle School
- Lisa Rodgers, Grandview High School
- Christine Tokarchik, Willow Creek Elementary School
- Jennifer Vidal, Eaglecrest High School
- Shari Wilkins-Suley, Highline Elementary School
- Diane Wright, Infinity Middle School
The CCSD teachers who renewed the National Board Certifications in 2017 are:
- Sarah Frederick, Ponderosa Elementary School
- Emily Reese, Buffalo Trail Elementary School
- Debby Smith, Sunrise Elementary School