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Will The Benefits Outweigh The Work?
by Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo is working toward National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist.

August 25, 2003

The decision to undertake the process of National Board Certification was made after much inquiry into how I could best further my education. I had been pursuing a master's degree in education. I conferred with a recently National Board-Certified colleague about the workload, the pros and cons of the process, and the stress involved. After that, it became clear to me that working toward National Board Certification would determine if my current classroom practices are aligned with standards, while working toward a master's degree would have little immediate impact on my actual classroom performance. Another plus of the National Certification process was that many other teachers in my building also were starting the process. The added support system offered a benefit that not all candidates are lucky enough to have.

My reasons for seeking National Board Certification are many; my students and their families are at the forefront. Through this process, on a daily basis I will be looking at my current teaching practices and how they align with standards. In addition, I hope to further open the lines of communication with my students' families, in order to provide them with a sense of ownership in their children's education. I teach at a school with a high poverty level; being honored with National Board Certification will bring honor to my school as well. I expect to experience a sense of pride by demonstrating that great teaching and learning occur at an otherwise overlooked school community.

I have always felt that attempting to educate others without continuing to educate oneself is a futile effort indeed.

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Meet Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary education from Rhode Island College in May 1995. She became certified in early childhood education in August 1997. For the past six years, Stephanie has been teaching kindergarten at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. In the fall of 2000, the kindergarten at Bradford became the first and only kindergarten in the district to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In 2003, Stephanie was named Westerly's Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.

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