National Board Certification

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

School districts are often encouraged to make sweeping changes in order to lift up low-achieving schools. Shutting a school down and overhauling it or replacing most of the staff are among the solutions favored by federal officials these days. But one struggling school in Tacoma is taking an opposite approach: they’re doubling down on the teachers they already have.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Money is not enticing Washington’s top teachers to move to low-income schools, according to University of Washington researchers. They studied a state program that gives bonuses to teachers who go through a rigorous evaluation process called National Board Certification.

Supporters of the program, however, say it's successful because more teachers at struggling schools now have the high level proficiency endorsement.