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State vs. National Certification
by Nicole Chiarello

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

September 29, 2003

State certification requirements differ from National Board Certification requirements in many ways. I received my master's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. My master's is in special education learning and behavior disorders K-12. In order to receive a New York State teaching certificate, in addition to my degree I had to pass the National Teachers Exam (NTE) and pay a fee. My teaching certificate prepared me to be a teacher at a beginning level. At that point in my life, I felt that I had many questions about teaching and much to learn. When I was hired at Bradford School, I attended every workshop our school district offered. I still felt that somewhere I could find out how to become an accomplished teacher. That's when my principal and colleagues introduced me to The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The eligibility prerequisites for National Board Certification are a degree from an accredited institution, three years teaching experience, and a valid teaching license for those three years. The National Board asks questions about your teaching practices and requires you to reflect on those practices. In addition, you must examine your students' work and use it as a guide to develop your teaching.

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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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