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The Power of the Box
by Stephanie Capalbo

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

August 1, 2003

May 21, 2003, seemed like any other rainy spring day. The weather, however, should have served as a sign of the serious task that awaited my arrival home. I came home to find "the box," containing materials for the National Board Certification (NBPTS) process. Any teacher thinking about going through this process is told stories about the power of "the box." I was intrigued by its contents, which didn't feel like much, but felt I needed to wait for the "perfect time" to become invested in the arduous task. So I opened the box simply to inventory the contents, and then safely stored it on my desk until the chaos of the school year ended.

June ended and yet the box remained untouched. My colleagues and I decided July would be the month to begin, because the "perfect time" never seemed to arrive. The question that loomed was..."Where do I begin?"

I began by downloading each of the portfolio entries, standards, and scoring guide from the NBPTS Web site. I spent a good portion of time organizing material and putting it into binders, and determining what each of the pieces meant. I learned that all the information could have been printed directly off the CD-ROM included in the box. Better yet, I could have requested that a copy of each piece be sent directly to me from the NBPTS. Now that I had a handle on all the materials, I was ready to edit the rough draft of an entry.

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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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