Wyoming Education Association

Spring 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1095286

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Page 9 of 31

The Big Cs: One WEA Member's Inspiring Journey Through Certification and Cancer by: Amanda Turner, WEA Information Specialist F rom the caged snowy owl behind her desk, to the Quidditch broom propped casually against her filing cabinet, stepping into WEA member Anne Babiuk's classroom feels more like a trip into Hogwarts than Rock Springs Junior High School. As a behavioral specialist, Anne works her own kind of magic in her students' lives. "We work hard to establish a supportive learning community in my room," Anne explains, "at the same time, I have my paraprofessionals out supporting students inclusively in the general education environment." Behavior specialist, Anne Babiuk in her Harry Potter- inspired room at Rock Springs Junior High School Anne has worked in public schools for 16 years, having begun her career working in residential treatment for 7 years, before becoming a special education teacher. She has taught every grade level from kindergarten to 12th grade before as she puts it, "coming back to my first love working with junior high students with behavior, sensory and social/emotional needs." It's more than Anne's long and diverse history in education that makes her an exceptional behavior specialist: Anne is a National Board certified teacher. Mary Ellbogen Garland is the president of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation. Working in partnership with the state of Wyoming, the Ellbogen Foundation pays half of the fees associated with National Board certification for qualifying Wyoming teachers. "Support for education is our hallmark," explains Garland, "House Points" complete with Gryffindor, Sytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw in Mrs. Babiuk's room. According to Garland, "National Board certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession." Garland continues, "Teachers will say that this is the best professional development they've had. It's different than a master's degree in that it focuses on what they're doing in their classroom and focuses on their students." Becoming a NBCT is a rigorous process. Only about 45% of teachers will certify on their first attempt, with 65% continuing on to certify over time. Anne Babiuk's challenges on the road toward becoming a NBCT reached beyond academic rigor: "I decided to jump in and do the NBCT" says Anne, "because it was something I could focus on during a challenging time in my life." Anne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of the year that she completed her certification. National Board certified teachers at a celebration hosted by the Ellbogen Foundation. January, 2019. "a lot of our support goes toward teacher quality. That is the focus of NBCT. It's a teacher quality initiative." 7

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