Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Praise of ParaPros

Who couldn’t use an extra pair of hands? Paraprofessionals provide much-needed hands, eyes, and ears in our schools.  But teachers and parapros alike are often challenged by making the most of the unique skill sets parapros bring to the table.  And just as often, paraprofessional support staff doesn’t have the training they need and have asked for to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. 
Whether you call them parapros, instructional assistants, academic aides, or follow-alongs, these folks with hearts for kids have lots of questions.  What am I legally allowed to do?  Grade papers?  Give tests?  Provide direct instruction?  Am I allowed to offer my input for IEP writing?  What about handling discipline?  May I attend parent conferences?  What are my legal obligations?  And where does my responsibility end?  Parapros and the teachers who love them have lots of questions.
Beyond all of the above is the whole question of “how?”  Most paraprofessionals are licensed by their state Departments of Education, but have had virtually no training in instructional strategies, behavioral methodologies, reinforcement schedules, error correction strategies, or classroom management.  And rarely have they received any focused training in specific academic areas or methods.

It’s a lot to ask of one person.  Module 7: Maximizing Professional Potential gives both teachers and paraprofessionals support in defining roles, delivering service, and supporting the academic and behavioral needs of students with disabilities.  Take a look at how this module can make your parapros even more valuable to students.

No comments:

Post a Comment