Mr. President, I commend the announcement yesterday that 44 Rhode Island teachers and nearly 9,000 teachers nationwide achieved National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification this year.

   The single most effective step we can take to raise student achievement and turn around struggling schools is to ensure that we improve the quality of our teachers. For years I have worked to improve what the Federal Government does to help train and develop teachers. Indeed, I have worked with National Board on nearly every piece of teacher quality legislation I have introduced in the Senate. The National Board has been instrumental in identifying effective teaching practices and infusing those practices throughout our Nations schools. Their certification process is rigorous and includes multiple components that regularly assess and improve a teacher's ability to improve student learning. Since 1994, 82,000 teachers have been National Board certified, including 383 Rhode Island teachers.

   Last week, the National Board announced an expansion of their certification process to include principals and other school leaders, recognizing the research that effective leadership is second only to classroom instruction among factors that influence student outcomes. I was pleased that this important expansion was made possible through Federal funding provided through the fiscal year 2009 Labor, Health, and Education appropriations bill.

   I congratulate the Rhode Island teachers and teachers nationwide on their significant accomplishment and dedication to their professional development, and I look forward to continuing to work with the National Board to ensure that our children have the most effective teachers, principals, and school leaders.

   I ask that the names of the Rhode Island teachers who achieved National Board certification this year be included in the Record.

   There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

   2009 Rhode Island National Board Certified Teachers

   Rhonda Asprinio, Michelle Beaulieu, Karen Bessette, Catherine Boutin, Dawn Brooder, Alison Burke, Jaclyn Cambio, David Clegg, Leila Connolly, Suzanne Costa, Lilly Coustan, Cheryl Degnan, Stephanie Desmarais, Amy Devault, Jonathan Dune, Kerri Gendice, Michael Gendice, Andrea Hainey-Turcotte, Carolyn Higgins, Michaela Holmes, James Hovey, and David Kearsley.

   Denise Ledoux, Jeanne Maggiacomo, Treva Mcelroy, Karen Mchenry, Maryelizabeth Melillo, Bonnie Morency-Lima, Lisa Narcisi, Kerry Perschau, Margaret Pouliot, Mary Roberts, Elizabeth Ruest, Lynn Rzemien-Plotkin, Marilyn Salisbury, Elyse Scherza, Denise Sherman, Nicole Tetreault, Jennifer Theroux, Julee Thomas, Christa Thompson, Jennifer Walker, Lynn Warila, and Amy Weigand.