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Will They Sign?
by Nicole Chiarello

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

October 6, 2003

As the start of the school year gets underway, I'm definitely starting to feel overwhelmed. This was the start of my seventh school when does teaching get easier?

At our school, we have a policy that all important papers, notices, and so on, go home in a special folder on Fridays. I needed to send home my student release forms, giving me permission to videotape their children, but I was concerned that a parent might refuse to sign the form if I wasn't there to explain it. I wanted to be able to assure parents that the focus of the videotaping would be on my teaching and not on their child.

I decided, therefore, not to send the release form home in the Friday folders. Our school's Open House is in September and I decided to wait until then to hand the release form to the parents, explain the National Board process, and answer any questions they might have. I wanted to explain that children would never be identified by their full names on the videotape, but only by their first names.

I remember someone in one of our support sessions asked what would happen if a parent refused to sign the release. The group leader said you would have to make sure that their child was out of range of the video camera. I honestly hope I don't have to worry about that. Hopefully all my students' parents will sign the release form!

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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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