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Done at Last!
by Nicole Chiarello

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

February 23, 2004

Well, it finally arrived -- the last week before we had to send in our boxes. I spent all my time that last week on the computer popping Tylenol for my constant pounding headache. I finished up the entries one at a time, and then e-mailed them to my parents in Buffalo for one more edit. When that was done, one of the other teachers who's going for the same certification as I am, checked them over to be sure I had used the correct standard's language. (Each entry has a list of standards that need to be incorporated into it, and she looked them over to see that each required standard was mentioned somewhere.)

That last week was difficult -- each of us had some kind of meltdown -- and our group support really came in handy! We were still at school working on our boxes at 8 p.m. the night before we were supposed to mail everything out. Packing up the box was a huge process; it can't be done in a single night. The Board requires that the boxes be packed up in a very specific order, and that every piece in it has a candidate ID label attached.

We mailed out the boxes together on Wednesday during our break. I was very nervous; I probably checked the box 20 times before handing it to the poor lady at the post office. The boxes needed to arrive in Ewing, New Jersey by Monday, February 16. Wish us luck!

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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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