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Alone Again
by Nicole Chiarello

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

November 10, 2003

This week, we attended a gathering of National Board candidates at the University of Rhode Island. The Teaching and Learning Center that had provided us with our pre-candidate course is no longer around, so the last couple of support sessions were cancelled. The University now wants to offer the support classes to teachers who are going through the Board process.

Two of my colleagues (Stephanie B. and Stephanie C.) and I went to the meeting not knowing what to expect. After listening to how the new support sessions would be run, we decided as a group to not take the class. We already had taken a pre-candidate course and another support class during the summer. Both classes were extremely helpful in getting us started. This class was going to start from the beginning, which is not where we are. We need someone to read our papers and offer advice on our videotapes.

We thought that since we are already working together, we could be our own support group, although we did choose to sign up for a mentor. The University of Rhode Island staff members said they would try to find someone in our certification areas who already had achieved Board certification and would be willing to support us.

The three of us left the meeting realizing that we will now be finishing this up all by ourselves. I definitely think we made the correct decision about the course, but the idea of doing this on our own is scary!

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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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