By Michele Dotson
Rocky River High School mathematics teacher Jennifer Lunsford spoke at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) media briefing held at the school on Wednesday, February 27. The media briefing focused on ways National Board certification is aligned with Goal 1 of the CMS Strategic Plan 2018.
Superintendent Heath Morrison’s long-range plan calls for “new kinds of schools with new kinds of instruction.”
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential. As part of this process, teachers must analyze their teaching context and students’ needs, submit videos of their teaching, and provide student work samples that demonstrate growth and achievement over time.
Thirty-four CMS teachers receiving their national board certification were present at the news briefing.
Lunsford described how the process has made her a better teacher.
“The process has taught me to constantly self-reflect on every lesson,” she says. “I find myself researching topics to find new ways to present the material, mostly to include hands-on activities and lessons that have a technology component.”
This is precisely the “new kind of instruction” alluded to in the Strategic Plan 2018. Students need to learn math, but they also need to know how to apply it in different situations.
“The students we teach today are very active learners,” says Lunsford, “and going through the national board process taught me that I wasn’t doing enough to reach these active learners. I was catering my lessons to the more passive learners but that is no longer the most effective way to teach.”
Lunsford also says she has learned to ask more leading, probing, in-depth questions rather than eliciting one-word responses.
“I now ask ‘why?’ constantly,” she says, “to require students to analyze their own thinking process.”
Lunsford, who has a BA in Elementary Education and Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, has been a math teacher at Rocky River since the school opened in 2010.
She was raised in Mint Hill, is a 1990 graduate of Independence High School, and currently lives in Indian Trail with 16 year old son Grant.