National Boards: Begin With the End in Mind

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So, you’re reading your standards, noting where you can add to your school counseling program, and highlighting key points.  In order to move forward, you’re going to need a plan!

Begin with the end in mind.  Stephen Covey said it best in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  As you prepare to take on what I’m sure feels like a mammoth task before you, you must think about the final outcome.  Of course, you want to have your portfolio completed and ready to turn in on or before the due date at the end of March.  Maybe your goal is to have it completed two weeks before the deadline.  Either way, mapping out your monthly goals for completing your NBPTS portfolio is key to staying on track and getting to your final destination.  What will you have to do in order to meet this goal?  Only you know how you work best.  Maybe you are great at multi-tasking and can work on all four entries simultaneously.  Or, if you’re like me, you like to put all of your energy on one entry at a time.  Outline your plan, and determine what you want to accomplish each month.  

Permission Forms

Two of the entries involve videotaping.  As soon as you can, determine which class you will use for Entry 2.  This entry focuses on career development.  I chose one 5th grade class and teacher to work with.  Some candidates will teach the same lesson to several classes and record each one in order to have several videos to choose from. The choice is yours.  However you decide, you will need to send the parents permission forms before any video taping.  Students with permission can be featured in your video.  Those without can still participate and speak during your video but may not be shown. Get those permission forms out as early as possible so you are not scrambling for the forms when it’s time to make the video.  You will also videotape an individual academic counseling session for Entry 3.  You may have several students in mind.  Send parents the permission forms early so when the time comes, you have several students to choose from.  I chose a student from the class I did the career lesson with.  Once I received all of the permission forms for the career video, I talked with the teacher about students in her class who could benefit from academic advisement. Although Entry 1 does not require video taping, you will still need permission forms signed in order to share the work samples generated during your small group.  I will speak more about video taping in future posts.

Give Your Plan Some Wiggle Room

Inevitably, some event or even an awful headache can pop up out of nowhere and disrupt your wonderful plan.  Always pad your plan to leave room for life’s unexpected events so that when you have to skip a day, it all works out.  If you are planning well in advance, this will be no problem at all.  I always created calendars by the month, because I’m visual and need to “see” it. I use Microsoft Publisher’s understated template.  You can see an example of one here.  I would start by including personal events on my calendar that would interfere with my writing time ie. PTA meetings, trips out of town, or choir rehearsals. Don’t wear yourself out. Sanity breaks are a must! Don’t forget to include “days off” in your plan to avoid burnout. You’ll be doing a lot of reflecting and analyzing and will need to give yourself a little respite on occasion.

State and School District Support

Be sure to find out exactly what your state or school district offers NBPTS candidates.  One great “extra” our state offered was three paid workdays to use anytime during the process.  This especially came in handy the closer it got to March when I began doing lots of revising and editing.  If this is an option for you, decide when you will take those days and incorporate them in your long range plan.  If you feel the need to work along side other NBPTS candidates, find out about existing cohorts in your district that you can join. Again, do what works best for you.  You may be like me and decide you’d rather work on your own with a mentor.  If you do plan to seek advice or assistance from a current NBCT, ask him or her early so he or she will know in advance that you will be soliciting mentoring during this process.

Stick around! You can follow Savvy School Counselor with free email updates.  I’ll be posting again soon about the NBPTS process.  Do not hesitate to ask questions. I will always do my best to answer them. Connect with me!

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