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National Board Process Support Groups
by Stephanie Capalbo

This week we asked our diarists, "What are the pros and cons of working in a support group while going through the National Board Process? Would you recommend it? How important is it to have a support group member be working towards the same certification?"

November 24, 2003

Ok, we get it, the National Boards are challenging! To do it without the help of a support group would be nearly impossible. Nikki, Stephanie B., and I have been meeting (and stressing out) about this task regularly since the spring of 2003. Our discussions have ranged from what the process entails to whether we have the time necessary to complete it successfully. Our conclusion was that we could be a great support system for one another.

The fact that we're pursuing differing certifications has been both a help and hindrance.

Each of us has four entries to complete; those entries have many similarities... that's helpful. Trying to bounce ideas off one another can be a hindrance, however. It's often hard for us to stand in another's shoes (and classroom) and determine the effectiveness of a lesson we're highlighting for a particular entry.

Bouncing ideas off other candidates, those who don't know us or our classrooms personally, is helpful because those candidates have a completely neutral approach and therefore are more objective.

We have a recently certified National Board teacher in our building. She's also playing a crucial role in reading papers, and in offering feedback on timelines, videotapes, and the problems she encountered while working through this process... helpful.

We also have met on a weekly basis to keep motivated about getting things donealso helpful. The hindrance... we usually spend the first hour getting organized and chatting.

All in all I wouldn't change my support group for anything. I highly recommend that anyone involved in this process find one of their own!

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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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