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Librarian and Student

Top Priorities

Transformation Starts Here
Want to support great teaching and learning in your community? Our experts recommend focusing on these key areas first.

8 Key Areas

No matter your role, you can help support educators’ continuing growth and pursuit of excellence.

Clinical practice

Each aspiring teacher must participate in a carefully designed, year-long clinical experience in the classroom of an excellent/accomplished teacher who was trained for the role of clinical practitioner and works effectively with adult learners, mentoring and fostering the professional growth of peers. Financial support should be provided to aspiring teachers, particularly during their clinical practice year.

Professional standards of practice

Stakeholders, led by PreK-12 teachers, should establish clear expectations/standards for knowledge and skills needed for initial licensure and for full professional licensure. This collaborative, profession-led group should translate this work into the development and implementation of performance assessments used to determine who meets the expectations for various phases of the profession. These standards should be part of a coherent system that culminates with a profession-defined demonstration of accomplished practice (e.g., National Board Certification).

Authentic demonstration of practice

As a culmination of the teacher preparation program (TPP) the aspiring teacher must demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills through the profession-developed performance assessment. Teachers moving from “emerging” to “professional” phase should demonstrate knowledge and skills (determined by representative members of the profession) through performance assessment activities.

Professional induction and support

Each Emerging Teacher must participate in a multi-year extensive induction program that includes working with a qualified and trained mentor and peer coach who is afforded the necessary time to fulfill their duties. The professional duties of the emerging teacher are also modified to allow time to participate in mentoring and to engage in the additional time required for a novice to plan for instruction, assessment, and reflection on practice.

Continuous personal growth


Each teacher, regardless of career phase, must be afforded the opportunity to collaborate with peers to development and implement their professional learning plan with the autonomy to match that plan to their individual needs, strengths, and interests.

Effective design

All professional learning should be planned and implemented according to sound design principles outlined in Learning Forward, including sufficient focus over extended time for research, coaching and practice, and reflection. Adequate time must be provided within the professional work day to accomplish these activities.

Accomplished practice

Each teacher must be provided the opportunity and encouraged to participate in professional learning communities focused on improved practice in the areas of NBPTS’s Five Core Principles. Collaborative groups should facilitate both the ongoing professional growth of National Board Certified teachers and those pursuing such measures of accomplished practice.

Professional evaluation

Formative and summative evaluation of professional practice should be aligned with and support the professional learning plan for each teacher and should be facilitated by a trusted teacher-led system of peer review.

Teacher leadership

Teacher leaders (at least 20 percent of teachers in each setting) should be intentionally developed to meet the systemic demands for persons to serve in the many roles for teacher leaders including, but not limited to: clinical facilitators, mentors, peer coaches, peer reviewers, professional learning community facilitators, advocates, and professional organization leaders.

First grade teacher Leslie Richardson with her students
Priorities for Teachers

How You Can Help


Priorities for Transformation

Teacher with Parents and Student
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.