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Washington Mutual Gives Teachers a Helping Hand With Largest Privately Funded National Scholarship Fund

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 26, 2001--

Bank to pay 50% of National Board Certification(R) Assessment Fee

and Provide Zero-Interest Loans for Remainder of Fee

The Washington Mutual Foundation and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards(TM) (NBPTS) today announced the largest privately funded national scholarship program for teachers pursuing National Board Certification -- the highest possible credential in the teaching profession.

Support will also be provided to encourage teachers already certified by the National Board to engage in leadership roles, such as mentoring new teachers.

The Washington Mutual Teacher Scholarship Fund will assist upwards of 1,000 teachers in their efforts to earn National Board Certification by the start of the 2002-2003 school year. The grants for scholarships and teacher leadership bring Washington Mutual's total investment in National Board Certification to more than $1.4 million and is part of the company's annual multi-million dollar commitment to public education.

"National Board Certification is a great example of teachers taking personal initiative to expand their skills," said Washington Mutual Chairman, President and CEO Kerry Killinger. "This is great for students and commendable for teachers. As business and community leaders, it's imperative that we help teachers achieve their professional goals."

Killinger, a longtime advocate for teachers and education, serves on the boards of the Partnership for Learning and the Alliance for Education, is scheduled to attend the National Education Summit next month. The Summit will bring together many of the nation's top governmental, corporate and education leaders to address key issues in education reform, share best practices and set forth a collaborative action plan aimed at expanding success. President Bush has been invited to the Summit and hopes to attend.

"We are grateful for the contribution of Washington Mutual because the end result will be better teaching, better learning and better schools," said Betty Castor, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. "The support from Washington Mutual is a great example of the private-public partnerships that the National Board is creating as we work to recognize the accomplished teaching that is occurring in American schools."

National Board Certification represents one of the most challenging and prestigious accomplishments in the teaching profession. A voluntary process established by NBPTS, it is achieved through rigorous performance-based assessment that takes nearly a year to complete. Currently, 9,532 teachers have achieved National Board Certification in the United States. The National Board's goal is to certify 100,000 teachers by 2006.

Positive Impact

A recently completed NBPTS survey of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) found that more than 90 percent of those polled said their status as an NBCT gives them more credibility in the education profession and virtually all (99.6 percent) are involved in at least one leadership activity such as mentoring and developing new curricula. Most importantly, 94 percent reported increased career satisfaction and 85 percent reported an increased desire to continue teaching, a critical finding as the nationwide teacher shortage worsens.

"This program has inspired me to improve my skills as a teacher and, in the process, has rekindled my passion for the teaching profession," said NBCT Tom Charouhas, a junior high school science teacher in Redmond, Washington. "National Board Certification is the single most powerful growth event of my career. I encourage other teachers to take advantage of this opportunity because it will make a difference to both you and your students."

About the Washington Mutual Teacher Scholarship Fund

K-12 public school teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible for Washington Mutual Teacher Scholarship Fund assistance, which covers up to 50 percent of the National Board's $2,300 fee. Funds can also be used to cover re-take fees. Scholarship recipients are eligible to apply for zero-interest loans from Washington Mutual for the remainder of the fee. For more information about the process or to request an application, call the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards at 1-800-22-TEACH.

Last year, Washington Mutual co-founded a program in Washington state to encourage teachers to pursue certification.

"We had 400 applicants for 100 scholarships," said Marc Frazer, Washington Mutual's vice president for education policy and grants. "This demonstrated to us a substantial interest in the program among teachers, as well as a real need for support."

Incentives for attaining National Board Certification

Increasingly, teachers are being financially compensated for successfully attaining National Board Certification. Forty-four states and approximately 300 local school districts, including the District of Columbia, encourage teachers to seek National Board Certification by offering incentives such as salary increases and bonuses, license portability, expanded school and district roles, and other professional incentives. For example, Georgia teachers who achieve National Board Certification receive an annual 10 percent salary increase. In California, teachers who earn the credential receive a $10,000 one-time bonus, with an additional $20,000 available for teaching four years in a low performing school. The NBPTS web site (www.nbpts.org) maintains a comprehensive list of incentives by state.

Washington Mutual's Ongoing Commitment to Teachers, Education

This year, Washington Mutual's education giving will total $12 million, with 50 percent of that dedicated to teachers specifically. Included in the education support are funds generated from the company's unique WaMoola for Schools(TM) program that provides $1 to local schools and school districts for every new checking account opened at Washington Mutual. Last year, more than 1.4 million people opened new checking accounts translating into a record $1,455,566 million for schools. Funds are earmarked for teacher support programs.

Starting October 1 and continuing through December 31, Washington Mutual will increase the WaMoola amount to $5 for every new checking account opened as part of its "Give Teachers a High 5" promotion. In addition, teachers can enter to win cash prizes for themselves and their schools at Washington Mutual financial centers nationwide. More than 100 prizes totaling $250,000 will be drawn on January 15, 2002. Another $250,000 will be distributed to teachers and their schools via an employee driven contest.

About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan and nongovernmental organization governed by a 63-member board of directors, the majority of whom are classroom teachers. Created in 1987, the National Board's mission is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by:

  • maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do,

  • providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards,

  • and advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers.

For more information about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, visit www.nbpts.org.

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At March 31, 2000, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $188.61 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,000 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. The company annually returns two percent of pretax profits to the communities it serves through grants, sponsorships, in kind assistance and other programs.

--30--CER/se*

CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Laura Jones, 206/377-2153
laura.s.jones@wamu.net
or
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
James R. Minichello, 703/465-2171
jminichello@nbpts.org