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Working Together
by Nicole Chiarello

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

November 17, 2003

Our school district gives us 40 paid hours of staff development time to work on the national boards. This week, we had our second day of preparation. Because we're not going to take the support class, we decided that we needed to pick specific times and dates to get together. In addition, Stephanie B. asked a national board certified teacher in our building if she would be interested in facilitating our work sessions. We finally agreed to work Mondays after school and Sundays as well; we scheduled a lot more than 40 hours of work.

With that out of the way, I began to look over entry four, which is the "documented accomplishments" entry -- the one that made me look at myself as a learner, a leader, and a communicator.

Stephanie C. had made up an analysis T-chart for us to use with each entry. The T-chart provides a four-point rubric of what needs to be included in each entry. One side of the T-chart encourages us to look at the highest rubric score and pick out what is most valued. The other side makes us look at what needs to be done to follow entry guidelines. I spent the rest of the day breaking down the rubric into shorter, more concise points. Those included such phrases as: effective in engaging parents, interactive two-way communication, work with colleagues, and impact on student learning. I decided to use the chart with every entry, to make sure I didn't leave anything out.

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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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