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Opening "the Box"
by Nicole Chiarello

Nicole Chiarello is working toward National Board Certification as an Early Childhood through Young Adulthood Exceptional Needs Specialist.

August 1, 2003

At the end of May 'the box' arrived in the mail from the National Board. I can remember shaking it, thinking it was empty, and putting it up on the shelf. I knew I was supposed to inventory the contents of the box immediately to see that I wasn't missing anything important, but I had too much other stuff to do. I soon realized, however, that there was never a good time to open the box, so I set the goal that I would open it as soon as school got out.

I didn't really understand what the box was all about. I had taken a course in the spring for candidates who were interested in going through the process, and they all referred to 'the box' as though it was this huge package that would arrive and end all the fun in your life until the day you send it back to the center. The box that came to my house, however, was light, containing only labels, a disk, and a bag. Others in the class I had taken had told us to go to the National Board Web site and download the standards and the requirements for the entries. That is basically what was on the disk that came in the box. Luckily, I have a class next week for all of the candidates who are officially going through the process.

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Meet Nicole Chiarello

Nicole Chiarello received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo, of the State University of New York, in May 1994 and her master's degree in special education, learning and behavior disorders from Buffalo State College in December 1996. For the remainder of the 1996-1997 academic year, Nicole worked as an inclusion teacher at Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School in Sanborn, N.Y. For the past six years, she has taught a district-wide special education program for three-to-five students with emotional and behavioral concerns at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. Nicole was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year in 2000. She is currently serving on a district team focusing on social, emotional, and behavioral concerns in the classroom.

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