Posted: Monday, March 21, 2016
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has selected a video portfolio submitted by Oakview Elementary Second Grade Teacher Jake Gambrell for inclusion in its online resource library. Gambrell earned National Board Certification in Literacy in 2013. He was also a runner-up for GCS Teacher of the Year in 2014-15, and has served at Oakview for seven years.
Teachers who pursue National Board Certification must reflect on their classroom practices, assess their understanding of subject material, and examine their preparation techniques. “I tailor my instruction to meet students’ needs, and that means I have to use a variety of options with my students,” said Gambrell. “Sometimes it’s individualized instruction, sometimes it’s in small groups, and sometimes we learn in a large group setting.”
The video selected for inclusion by the National Board shows a large group setting where Gambrell’s students present research projects on animals. The students integrated writing and other content areas into their presentations. Speaking and listening standards were addressed along with writing and science standards. Technology was integrated into the students’ presentations. Gambrell’s video will be available on the National Board Resource Library website this fall.
“In the video, I changed my role as a teacher and became more of a facilitator,” he said. “I was able to show why I chose those instructional strategies to meet their needs, and I was able to reflect on their learning.” Gambrell added that teaching students to write across the curriculum allows him to be aware of each student’s comprehension and understanding of sequences of events.
Gambrell said it is important that teachers know how to reflect on their instructional practices. He said teachers should be able to explain in writing why they made various choices and also make sure that someone reading their portfolio can understand it. The portfolio components vary based on the teacher’s area of certification. Gambrell was required to analyze and assess student writing, students’ progress in reading, his ability to integrate writing in other content areas, and his professionalism through showing his contributions to the teaching profession as part of the Literacy certification.
Gambrell earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Greenville University and a master’s degree in literacy education from Clemson University. In addition to teaching at Oakview, Gambrell is an adjunct professor at North Greenville University.
With 683 teachers who have achieved National Board Certification, Greenville County Schools ranks 13th in the nation out of more than 14,000 school districts for total number of NBC teachers. GCS also has more NBCTs than 25 states. South Carolina ranks third in the nation with 8,863 NBC teachers, behind North Carolina and Florida.