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Getting to Know You
by Stephanie Capalbo

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

October 6, 2003

"Welcome to kindergarten! Can I have permission to videotape your child?" This was how I felt as I started my new year. In reality, it was a little gentler than that. Let me explain.

I start off each year with a weeklong kindergarten orientation. During that week, I meet with small groups of incoming kindergartners and their parents. I also provide the opportunity for parents and students to meet with me one-on-one for individual orientations. Orientation, therefore, appeared to be the perfect setting in which to obtain the parental releases needed for videotaping their children during class lessons. Sounds easy right? Keep in mind that out of 18 incoming kindergarteners, I had taught an older brother or sister in only three of their families. My fear was that I was seeking permission so early into the school year from families with whom I have developed little rapport and trust.

I used the orientations, however, to explain the intent of the videotapes...that they would focus on my teaching and on how it impacted student learning. I stressed the fact that the videos would focus on me; they would not be a reflection of the students' abilities.

I was very pleased that by the end of my orientation sessions, all 18 families had granted permission for the videotaping. With this major milestone overcome, I will use the NBPTS criteria for the videotaped sessions to determine which lessons to tape for practice.

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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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