Introducing ATLAS
Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools
A new resource for developing accomplished teaching from
the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Accomplished teachers improve student learning.
There are few topics more hotly discussed today than the
preparation and development of effective teachers.
Teachers, principals, education leaders and policy makers
agree that this work is difficult. It demands an enormous
amount of time and also requires a great deal of expertise,
especially when dealing with instruction across many
content areas and developmental levels. The stakes are high,
and ultimately student achievement hangs in the balance.
At this point, the field has more questions than answers. What does accomplished teaching look like? What
should observers look for at each stage of a teacher’s professional growth? What qualities and skills should
teachers aim to develop in their own practice?
The National Board is working in partnership with teacher preparation programs, states and districts to reach
the right answers to these questions and to provide resources to support teachers across the career continuum.
What does accomplished teaching look like?
T o help prospective teachers move from pre-service to
accomplished professionals, they must first gain a clear and
common understanding of what “accomplished” practice
looks like. The ATLAS solution calls for providing teacher
candidates, new and experienced teachers, education
faculty, principals and administrators with ready access to
strong representations of accomplished teaching aligned to
a variety of teaching standards.
The National Board has launched ATLAS (Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools), a unique online
library of authentic videos showing National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) at work in their classrooms
paired with written commentary by the teachers. While the videos show accomplished teaching in action, the
written analyses of NBCTs make the invisible and intangible aspects of accomplished teaching explicit by
offering the teachers’ own planning, intentions and analysis for the activity or lesson shown. These cases
demonstrate the critical aspect of reflection—essential to conscious, ongoing improvement—including what
the teacher recognizes he or she could have done differently to be more effective.
The result is a library of video cases that show accomplished teaching in a real classroom setting and provide
the how and why behind the video.
Created from the portfolios of accomplished teachers.
National Board Certified Teachers have been identified by peers as accomplished through the National Board’s
rigorous and well-documented assessment process, and have been validated by research to advance student learning
and achievement. Recent research from Harvard University's Strategic Data Project found that students of NBCTs
in the Los Angeles Unified School District gained roughly the equivalent of two months of additional instruction in
Math and one month in English Language Arts, compared with students taught by non-Board-certified teachers.
As part of the certification process, teachers submit two short videos that show them working in small- and
large-group settings. In addition, the candidates write a paper that describes their students, explains the
instructional goals of each class, the instructional strategies used, the evidence of student learning gains, their
analysis of what led to those results and their reflection on the activity. Together these videos and supporting
documents —from teachers who have been identified by their peers as meeting the profession’s highest
standards—create a powerful resource. These video cases, authentic and unedited, form the basis of ATLAS.
Aligned to your needs.
The National Board can provide ATLAS cases across grade
spans, subject area and educational setting, including small
and large schools in urban, suburban and rural settings, as
well as independent and public charter schools. ATLAS
cases are available in all 25 National Board Certification
areas, which include 16 content areas across four
developmental levels. This includes not only STEM
subjects, literacy and English language arts, but exceptional
needs, English as a new language, social studies, world languages, art, music, physical education and more.
Teacher resources are only useful to the extent that teachers can easily find them and use them effectively.
ATLAS cases are aligned to common frameworks, standards and rubrics for teaching practice, as well as
Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and Language Arts/Literacy, with Next Generation Science
Standards planned. This alignment not only makes it simple to search the library, it helps make explicit links
between standards across a teacher’s entire career. In addition, the National Board is developing resources
(including instructional guidelines and example uses) to support users in successfully using ATLAS cases for
pre-service, induction, professional development and observer training.
ATLAS is currently being piloted in sites across the country in teacher preparation programs and local
education agencies through a Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. Partners include:
the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (edTPA); the American Association of Colleges of Teacher
Education; the Council of Chief State School Officers; Teaching Works at the University of Michigan; and the
American Institutes for Research. Site partners include seven local education agencies in New York, Tennessee
and Washington state, and six universities in these states.
ATLAS can be made available to states, districts and teacher pre-service programs through a subscription arrangement.
For more information about ATLAS, visit, or email [email protected]
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
1525 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22209