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Reflection on Connections
by Nicole Chiarello

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

January 26, 2004

I've been having a hard time focusing on the reflection I'm trying to write; I just couldn't decide how to start it. Then, one of my colleagues e-mailed me her reflection to proofread. Although I really wanted to read it, I decided to try to write my own first. I was afraid that if I read hers first, I'd be thinking about the things she'd written and would have a hard time writing my own.

I had to write about "connections" in what I do. I wrote about my efforts to involve my students' parents and to communicate with all families on a daily basis. Parent involvement and frequent communication are part of the plan to which parents agree when their children enter my program. Family communication also is an area that I need to improve. You can always have more parental involvement, and I could have invited parents to a couple of things to which I failed to invite them. I also wrote about the many professional development opportunities of which I take advantage, so I can keep up with the latest education research.

After typing up those ideas, I finally read my friend's reflection. Our reflections were totally different, but we both had answered the required questions. Now, I just have to e-mail my mentor my completed entry -- with the reflection -- and get her feedback.

Next week, I have to call and set up a time and date to take the test. The four written entries are due February 16, but the test deadline isn't until March 31. Right now, I'm planning to take it towards the end of March.

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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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