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The Support Course
by Stephanie Capalbo

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

November 10, 2003

You might recall that my colleagues and I attended a support session this past spring and summer in preparation for the national certification process. The course provided tips, advice, and support as we began the months of work. Those initial sessions were run by the Rhode Island Teaching and Learning Center (RITLC). Just three months into the process, the RITLC closed its doors due to a lack of funding and took with it all the support we were guaranteed for the duration of the process.

Notification came that the University of Rhode Island would take over the support system. Nicole, Stephanie B., and I anxiously went to the first orientation session ready to be taken under their wing. We anticipated support sessions at which we could share videotaping tips, read and critique each others' papers, and simply warn our fellow Board colleagues about deadlines or possible bumps in the road.

It soon became apparent that this crowd of anxious teachers included many Board candidates who had just mailed off their applications. Basically, these support sessions would take us back to where we were last spring Although not ideal for us, having been invested in this process for months, I was able to network with teachers around the state to share experiences and contact information and have them join a local support group. Having a stranger critique my work will help identify ambiguities in my papers and videotapes.

Bottom line... find a support group -- local or statewide -- and join it while working towards National Board Certification!

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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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