Document

Report
Effective Use of
Paraprofessionals
Washington County School
District
Department of Special
Education
…a rose by any other name…
Paraeducator
Paraprofessional
Teacher Assistant
Teacher Aide
Para
There are 21 titles for “paraprofessionals”
What is a Paraprofessional?
Paraprofessionals are to
assist and support the
teacher in delivering
services to students with
disabilities.
The National Resource Center for
Paraprofessionals (NCRP) defines
paraprofessionals as follows:
PARAEDUCATORS/PARAPROFESSIONALS are
school/agency employees
1) Whose positions are either instructional in nature or who
provide other direct services to children and youth and/or
their families.
2) Who work under the supervision of teachers or
professional practitioners who are responsible for a) the
design, implementation, and assessment of learner
progress, and b) the evaluation of the effectiveness of
learning programs and related services for children and
youth and/or their families (Pickett, 1989).
PARAEDUCATORS/PARAPROFESSIONALS are
school/agency employees who assist and support teacher
directed instruction (Gerlach, 2003)
District Support
Designated personnel in the district office have the primary
responsibility for:
 Recruiting, screening, and hiring paraprofessionals.
 Developing appropriate job descriptions.
 Developing appropriate policies for the employment and
training of paraprofessionals.
 Introduce paraprofessionals to district policies and
procedures.
 Introduce paraprofessionals to professional organizations
such as the National Education Association (NEA),
American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the Council
for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Overview of the Paraprofessional
Employment Process
Beginning January 1, 2006, anyone interested in employment with the
Washington County School District as a Special Education Teacher
Assistant/Para Professional will be required to complete the following
training modules which consist of 4 phases.
PHASE I
Pre-employment Orientation
“This is a Special Education Paraprofessional”
Time required: approximately 1 hour prior to interview
PHASE II New Employee Inservice
“Introduction to the Basics”
Time required: 10-12 hours within 60 days of hire
PHASE III Increasing Competence
Time required: approximately 1 hour per month…ongoing
PHASE IV Skill Building (optional)
New Paras


Beginning July 1, 2006, new
paraprofessionals will be given a Special
Education Welcome Packet.
The packet contains 2 assignments/activities
that special education teachers need to be
aware of.
Orientation Activities for Paras
• Site Orientation Activity
This activity has been designed to ensure that
paras are successful in their new assignment.
The activity requires them to become more
familiar with their work site.
When they have finished the activity, their
supervising teacher needs to sign it.
Then the para makes a copy and sends it to the
Paraprofessional Specialist at the district office.
Orientation Activities for Paras
• The Paraprofessional Training Manual
The Department of Special Education
has written a comprehensive training
manual that is now only accessible from the
district web site.
Each supervising teacher needs an
answer key for the end of chapter quizzes.
The Paraprofessional Training
Manual
• Paras are encouraged to discuss concepts
from the manual that are unclear to them
• The manual can be used by teachers as a
resource for on-the-job training and staff
meetings
The Paraprofessional Training
Manual
Table of Contents
Chapter I
EMPLOYMENT
INFORMATION
Philosophy of Special Education
Chapter II SPECIAL EDUCATION
POLICIES
Definition of Disabilities
Special Education Process
Chapter III OVERVIEW OF INSTRUCTIONAL
AND BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT
STRATEGIES
Terms
Overview of Behavior
Management
Motivating Students
Instructional Methods
Time Management
Chapter IV DATA COLLECTION AND
OBSERVATION
Chapter V COLLABORATIVE
PROCESSES
Appendix
A. Feeding Guidelines for Students with
Disabilities
B. Transfer Guidelines for Students with Severe
Disabilities
C. Guidelines for Speech/Language and Hearing
Assistants
D. Job description for Severe Paraprofessionals
E. Job description for Motor Paraprofessionals
F. Job description for Behavior Technicians
Index
The Department of
Special Education
The Department of SPED will support the Teacher-Paraprofessional team
by:
 Providing a clearly defined role.
 Meeting with all new teachers to make sure they understand their
responsibilities in directing the work of paraprofessionals.
 Determine what local, state, and federal legal mandates exist for
paraprofessional staff development and supervision.
 Providing professional development opportunities for
paraprofessionals and those who supervise them.
 Design a professional development plan for paraprofessionals.
The Department of Special Education has
designated the following paraprofessional
positions:
Resource Paraprofessional
Severe Paraprofessional
Speech / Language Paraprofessional
Motor Paraprofessional
Preschool Paraprofessional
Professional Development
Plan for Paraprofessionals
STANDARDS
and
CORE COMPETENCIES
were approved by the USOE and are based
on NCLB and IDEA ‘04
Professional Development
Plan for Paraprofessionals
 Teachers are expected to support paras in their
professional development.
 Training will be provided through various
means.
 The SpEd page of the district website has a
link to Para Resources and the Newsletter will
include information.
 Teachers will provide on-the-job training.
 Recognition will be an important component of
paraprofessional development
The Department of
Special Education
The Special Education page of the district
website has a tab for Para Resources.
There is a link to:
-this presentation: “Effective Use of
Paraprofessionals”
- The Paraeducator Training Manual
-a pre-employment orientation:
“Paraprofessional 101”
ROLES
Paraprofessional Roles
The work performed by paras will vary
depending upon teachers’ expectations,
paraeducators’ skills and experience, and
job assignment. Paraeducators are
primarily responsible for assisting and
supporting teachers or other certified or
licensed staff.
Major Responsibilities
• Work as a team
• Build and maintain effective communication
• Maintain student-centered supportive
environments
• Implement lessons initiated by the teacher or
related-service personnel
• Assess student needs and progress under teacher
direction.
Other important responsibilities
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Learn school policies and procedures
Perform assigned tasks
Support curriculum and instruction
Deal with student behavior
Work with teachers and other supervisors
Assist students with special needs
Obtain training and professional development
Maintain ethics and professionalism
Major Responsibilities of Teachers
in supervising paras






Plan the tasks that paras will perform
Develop schedules for paras
Appropriately delegate responsibilities to
paras
Monitor the day-to-day performance of paras
Provide feedback and on-the-job training to
paras
Share relevant information about para
strengths and training needs to principals and
district Department of SPED
Other important
responsibilities







Introduce the para to your classroom
Provide clear instructions and complete
information
Assign and delegate tasks
Discuss curriculum and instruction
Discuss student behavior
Promote training and professional
development
Give feedback and recognition
Ideas to effectively utilize and
supervise paraprofessionals
As teachers, we’re trained to deal with
kids. We’re not trained to deal with
adults.
When working with another adult in
the classroom, take a leadership role.
Start by getting to know each other.
Ideas to effectively utilize and
supervise paraprofessionals
Clarify roles and responsibilities
Strengthen interpersonal
communication
Competency Areas for Teachers
Who Supervise Paraprofessionals
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Communicating with Paras
Planning and scheduling
Providing instructional support
Modeling for Paras
Managing the work of Paras
Providing On-the-Job Training
Advocating for involvement and
professional development
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
 Consider the impact of the decision.
 Consider the inadvertent detrimental
effects such as student dependence,
interference with peer interaction, limited
involvement of the general ed. teacher
with the student, isolation of the student.
 Assignment of a one-on-one para should
be considered temporary.
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
In too many cases, reliance on para
support results in the least trained, least
qualified individuals assuming the
primary educational responsibilities for
students who have the most complex
learning challenges.
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
Determination is not based on
categorical labels (e.g. autism, deafness,
blindness, severe emotional disturbance,
etc.)
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
Look beyond student characteristics by
encouraging alternative solutions:
 Peer supports
 Grouping changes
 Problem solving strategies
 Identification of personnel training needs
 Evaluation procedures to assess the
continued need for para support
Common criteria for
deciding on para support
1. Student needs assistance in self-care
(toileting, feeding, dressing, mobility)
2. Student needs intensive assistance in the
area of communication support.
3. Student behavior poses a disruption in the
classroom.
4. Student poses a direct safety risk to
him/herself or others.
5. Student needs intensive on-going support in
vital areas (academics, functional skills, redirection) to benefit from instruction.
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Rely on collaborative teamwork
Build capacity in the school to support
all students.
Consider para supports individually
and judiciously
Clarify the reasons why para supports
are being considered
Match the identified needs and the skill
of the person to provide the supports.
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
Explore opportunities for natural supports.
7.
Consider school and classroom
characteristics.
8.
Consider special educator and related
services caseloads.
9.
Explore administrative and organizational
changes.
10. Consider if para support is a temporary
measure.
6.
Guidelines for determining the
need for paraprofessional support
Is it acceptable for students with disabilities to
be educated by paraprofessionals whereas
students without disabilities receive their
instruction from certified teachers?
Are we willing to acknowledge that the
challenges we face may have less to do with
individual student characteristics and perhaps as
much to do with our own attitudes and
practices?
Conclusion
Paraprofessionals play a major role in
the education of students with
disabilities. They are part of a
collaborative team where their role is
clearly defined and their work is
appropriately planned and supported.

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