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Getting Some Help
by Nicole Chiarello

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

August 8, 2003

Well, I went to my first class as an official candidate for National Board Certification. The first series of classes I had taken was for pre-candidates. These new ones are designed to answer any questions we might have now, and also to help us work through some of our portfolio entries.

I definitely found the Web site confusing, and I was glad everyone else seemed to as well! The instructor logged on to the site, and showed all of us how to check our personal status; for example, you can find out if your fees have been paid and what you have left to turn in.

One person in the class had all of Entry 4 completed, so we went over it in class and offered her feedback. Entry 4, which looks at your professional accomplishments for the last five years, is basically the same for any one going through the process. The other entries, however, vary according to the certificate you're going for. We did part of Entry 4 during our pre-candidate course, since it was one we could begin working on immediately.

The deadline for my Exceptional Needs Certificate is February 16, 2004. That means all my portfolio entries and my assessment test have to be completed and in to the Board by then. My goal is to work on Entry 4 this summer and take the test before school starts again. We'll see!

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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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