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Are you ready to begin the National Board journey?

So, you think you are ready to begin your National Boards in School Counseling?

I am living it now and it is rough.  Trying to manage 3 kids, a full-time job, on-line classes and being a swim, ballet, basketball and soccer taxi driver is no easy task.  There are many days that I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted.  I truly feel that my saving grace is that we canceled our cable television.  The nights where I used to stay up to watch the Hallmark Channel or HGTV now consist of prepping, reading and typing.

This journey is new to me also but I can say that the tips my fellow colleagues have told me put me on the path for success.  I felt so prepared and ready to begin.  If you can read this post and at the end think that it is feasible for the next 2 years of your life -go for it!  If not, keep this article on the back burner and wait, there will be day when everything falls into place for you to begin.  Be patient and it will happen.

Mentally Prepare :  In April the school year BEFORE I even started my classes I talked to my family about the commitment that the National Boards would require.  I was very nervous as I had just watched some of my teacher friends go through this process and they looked like they had been through the depths of hell and back.

I had explained to my husband that this costs money and time but I am prepared for the challenge. I had just hit the 10 year mark in my career as an elementary school counselor and I don’t know what happened – something had changed in me.  Even though every day is different and very busy, I needed the challenge.

Buy your Supplies:  Have your supplies ready and be prepared when you print out everything (see binder list below) to organize immediately. You can buy ALL the supplies you will need for the national boards by clicking here.  You will be printing out hundreds of pages that you will need to read through.  The second it comes off the machine, three hole punch it and put in your binders.  It needs to be printed so you can take notes on the pages and you will be referencing back to these pages very often.  

Each binder is specific – Binder 1 has the standards, helix and 5 core propositions and the Guide to the National Boards.  Binder 2 has each component (component 1, component 2 links), portfolio instructions and scoring rubric.  You will need to have these 2 binders with you when you are going through all the prompts.  Go through the links I provided above and print out everything that you will need.  The official website is www.boardcertifiedteachers.org – know this site well.  Another site to explore is nbpts.org.

nbpts binder

Read, Read, Read:  Read through each of the standards and see what your school program is lacking before the next school year.   For me it was a clear scope and sequence for my grade level classes and over the summer I made sure that my school counseling program was fully ready for the start of the school year.  The reading also made me prepared for the classes I was going to start taking in September.  There are different terms like components, propositions and prompts that you will be using frequently, know the difference.

Prepare your prompts:  Over the summer type out all your prompts and review them.  This will make it so much easier when you are ready to begin component 2 and the prompts will be ready for you to begin typing.  

Start the school year off with a plan:  You have printed, organized, read, updated your program and now you are ready to tackle the components head on.  Since you only have to do 1 or 2 components each year, have a plan for the school year and pace yourself.

Don’t do this alone:  Join Washington State University’s component online classes – I HIGHLY recommend it!  They are reasonably priced and totally worth every penny.  You can take the classes at home with school counselors from all over the country.  In one of my classes there were counselors from Hawaii, Washington and the East Coast.  Another great blog specifically for the National Boards in School Counseling is by Jane Oczkewicz, my component 1 and 2 teacher, who is so supportive and knows her stuff.  I look forward to her class every other week with my cohort group.  Between Jane, my cohort group, the resources she provides and her blog- I do NOT feel alone at all. 

**FYI  – I am not affiliated with Washington State University in any way, it really is a great course.

You can do this, I know it.

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