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Why Am I Doing This?
by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

August 8, 2003

This week, I begin tackling my to-do list. First, I print out the standards and scoring guides. Then I to bone up on concepts that might appear on the assessment test by looking over the E.D. Hirsch books I've purchased: What Your 3rd... (4th, 5th and 6th) Grader Needs to Know.

That's when the reality of the whole process begins to sink in, sending me to the Board Web site to look at the Assessment Center information. What are their expectations for the assessment? How do I study? How can I answer all the questions in 30 minutes? Are they insane? Am I insane for thinking I can possibly pass this test?

Right now, Steph, Nikki, Jen and Elizabeth are at a class getting tips on how to tackle this process, so I'll have to wait until later to talk to them. In the meantime, I decide to visit some other educational sites. I renew my membership to NCTM, which will help me with current practices for math instruction. I sign up for National Council of Social Studies to help me with the current standards and expectations for the social studies portion of the test. And I collect all the Educational Leadership magazines that accompany my Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development membership, and began reading the articles.

Finally, I speak with the others! They are as apprehensive as I am, but we've decided that we're all on the right track. We can do it!

My list grows longer:

  • Read the rest of the Educational Leadership magazines.
  • Call Dan and get the science curriculum for middle school. Contact our assistant superintendent for some "Big Ideas."
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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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