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What If?
by Stephanie Capalbo

This week, we asked our diarists, "What if you don't achieve national certification? Will the process have been worth it anyway? Will you try again?"

March 1, 2004

"Congratulations! Congratulation!" I have heard those words repeatedly since completing the entries for my national boards portfolio. I accepted all those words of congratulations, but quickly reminded everyone that the process is far from over, and it's too early for congratulations. I still have six tests -- each a half-hour in length -- to takeand pass. After that, I'll have to wait up to ten months to find out if the fruits of my labor are rewarded.

I'm trying to be realistic; I know that many people do not achieve national board certification the first time out. I feel as though I'm prepared for that prospect, yet I know I will be crushed! I've spent months consumed by the boards. I've written, rewritten, and analyzed every part of my life teaching kindergarten. I've missed numerous social outings. Basically, I have poured my heart and soul into each of those papers. If I don't get national board certification, I'll cry first, whine a little perhaps, and then do what I have to do: Pick myself up and rewrite and resubmit entries or take the test againwhatever needs to be done. I am determined to make it! Failure is not an option. I am confident in what I wrote, videotaped, and analyzed, and I know that in the end I did my best. That really was all I could do!

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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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