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Ten Beaufort County teachers are among nearly 500 educators across South Carolina to earn National Board certification this year.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced Wednesday those who earned what the S.C. Department of Education called "the highest credential available in the teaching profession."
South Carolina now has 7,784 National Board certified teachers, the third-highest number in the country behind North Carolina and Florida. Beaufort County public schools now have 141 of those teachers.
However, the number of teachers statewide earning the certification in 2010 is down from last year's 798. The number is also down in Beaufort County: 18 teachers earned the certification in 2009.
Education officials said the drop can be partly attributed to the public debate surrounding salary incentives, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Education.
Most states provide salary bonuses to those who earn national certification. South Carolina gives a $7,500 annual salary bonus for the 10-year life of the certificate. But because of budget reductions, the next set of S.C. teachers to become certified will receive a $5,000 supplement for 10 years. Qualifying for the supplement after that period will not be an option, according to the Education Department.
The Beaufort County School District pays an additional $2,000 annual bonus to its National Board certified teachers. Eliminating or reducing the local supplement is on a list of possible cuts as the county Board of Education grapples with an anticipated $4 million budget shortfall this year.
Candidates complete a two-part process that takes one to three years. It requires them to reflect on their classroom practices, their understanding of subject material and preparation techniques.
Beaufort County's 2010 National Board certified teachers are: