Phoenix, Arizona - With the help of new funding included in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, 200 Arizona teachers recently kickstarted the process toward earning National Board Certification, an advanced credential that certifies teachers beyond state licensing through a series of rigorous assessments. The voluntary certification, which represents a national standard of excellence in teaching, requires that teachers exhibit a deep understanding of content, students, assessment and more. 

Research shows that teachers who earn their National Board Certification are more likely to have higher retention rates and eventually mentor younger teachers.

Arizona’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget included $500,000 to provide stipends for 200 Arizona teachers to pursue National Board Certification. The certification program that recently kicked off had approximately 400 participants — Arizona’s largest group of teachers to begin the program at the same time.

Arizona is committed to setting students up for success by putting more talented, qualified teachers at the front of classrooms. Governor Ducey in 2017 launched the Arizona Teachers Academy to tackle the nationwide teacher shortage and provide financial support to Arizona’s future teachers. In the 2018-2019 school year, 464 students enrolled in the program — more than double the previous year.

This year’s budget invested $15 million to expand the program and further its success. The Arizona Teachers Academy program operates at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, Pima Community Colleges and Maricopa Community Colleges and cover participants’ tuition and fees in exchange for committing to teach in an Arizona public school.