Managing the Work of ParaprofessionalsCompetencies: • Clearly describes, to each paraprofessional, their roles and responsibilities. • Maintains regular positive and supportive interaction with paraprofessionals. • Contributes to the evaluation of paraprofessional performance with the intent of assisting paraprofessional skill improvement. • Maintains professionalism through respect, confidentiality, and honoring boundaries. • Provides beginning and substitute paraprofessionals with an orientation that results in sufficient understanding of the setting, staff, students, and staff roles and responsibilities.
Paraprofessionals and those around them must realize that paraprofessionals “assist and support” teachers.
Definition - MN 3525.0200 DEFINITIONS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION - Subp. 10a. Paraprofessional. “Paraprofessional” means a district employee who is primarily engaged in direct instruction with one or more pupils for instructional activities, physical or behavior management, or other purposes under the direction of a regular education or special education teacher or related services provider.
Legislation - MS125A.08(b) - (b) For paraprofessionals employed to work in programs for students with disabilities, the school board in each district shall ensure that -- Before or immediately upon employment, each paraprofessional develops sufficient knowledge and skills in emergency procedures, building orientation, roles and responsibilities, confidentiality, vulnerability, and reportability, among other things, to begin meeting the needs of the students with whom the paraprofessional works;
Legislation - MS125A.08(b) - continued… 2. Annual training opportunities are available to enable the paraprofessional to continue to further develop the knowledge and skills that are specific to the students with whom the paraprofessional works, including understanding disabilities, following lesson plans, and implementing follow-up instructional procedures and activities; and
Legislation - MS125A.08(b) - continued… 3. A district wide process obligates each paraprofessional to work under the ongoing direction of a licensed teacher and, where appropriate and possible, the supervision of a school nurse.
Some Appropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Assist teacher to maintain records, folders, and filing • Manage classroom books, supplies, and equipment • Assist in large group instruction • Tutor individual and small groups of children • Prepare duplicate materials • Report attendance • Collect data for student assessment, observe and record behavior • Help pupils understand teacher directions • Play instructional games with children
Some Appropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Supervise children during recess on the playground • Attend student conferences and IEP staffing • Prepare instructional resources and collect specific materials for lessons • Help students with missed work and make-up tests • Arrange learning centers and prepare materials for special activities such as art • Listen to oral reading • Provide role model for the children
Some Appropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Record materials for children with disabilities • Contribute ideas when staff is planning instructional program • Re-teach with special practice after initial instruction by teacher • Supervise test periods and enter grades into grade books
Some Inappropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Assign final grades • Make retention or promotion decisions • Initiate formal contact with parents concerning child's overall progress • Administer, score and interpret assessments that require subjective judgment • Assume full responsibility for a class for indefinite amount of time
Some Inappropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Make major decisions as to the subject matter to be taught • Has primary responsibility for writing IEPs • Sub for a teacher, unless they are an official substitute in superintendent's office • Plan individual daily lesson plans for the classroom
Some Inappropriate Roles[adapted from F. Johnson (2003)] • Discard instructional materials as inappropriate • Give permission to observe • Supervise student teachers
Job Description Worksheet • Position Title • Position Setting • Hours of employment • Qualifications (credentials, education and/or work experience • Rationale and/or purpose for the position • Expectations of the position • Duties and responsibilities • Common activities
Job Description Worksheet, cont. • Orientation/pre-training requirements • On-the-job training goals • Future training needs • Supervision • Name(s) of professional(s) directing this position and brief description of that relationship • Schedule and structure of supervision (I.e., daily informal direction from lead teacher; weekly team meetings with instructional team; annual performance review conducted in spring with lead teacher and program administrator) • Evaluation
What role do teachers have in paraprofessional performance reviews? • In Minnesota, teachers do not hire, terminate or conduct performance evaluations -- that is the role of administrators. • But, teachers may contribute to the performance evaluation. How might this work? Why is it important?
Teacher’s Role - • Work with the administrator responsible for the performance evaluation and determine your role. For example, teachers might - • Gather information • Provide examples of performance • Work with paraprofessional to grow and improve skills • Provide summative information about performance • Other???
Contents for a paraprofessional handbook (F. Johnson, 2003) • Orientation checklist • Related policies and procedures • Professional Ethics • Report of Maltreatment • Evaluation process • Special education process • Behavioral management strategies
Contents for a paraprofessional handbook, Continued(F. Johnson, 2003) • Instructional strategies • Medication reference list • Substitute information • Training information (including instructions about how to document training activities) • Other information
Orientation - • Introduce the paraprofessional to policies, people, roles, responsibilities, school, classroom and more • Consider skills, abilities and interests. • Show where to go for breaks, phone, email, paycheck, schedules, forms, etc.
Orientation Interview QuestionsFrench, 2003 • Where did you grow up? • What are your leisure time activities? • What is your best memory of school? • What is your understanding of this position? • Why are you interested in this type of work? • What are your unique talents and skills?
Introducing Paraprofessionals to your Classroom(Gerlach, 2003) • Allow the paraprofessional to spend at least one day observing you and other teachers and students • Provide an initial orientation to your classroom, including: • Daily routines • Daily and weekly schedules • Instructional procedures • Classroom rules • Lesson plan format • Procedures for handling student assignments
Introducing Paraprofessionals to your Classroom(Gerlach, 2003) • Explain the activities that take place at the beginning of each class, such as: • Attendance • Warm-up routines • Lunch counts • Special services • Explain your class policies regarding: • Classroom procedures (e.g., posting and handing in assignments) • Room organization and clean-up • Dismissing the class and small groups • Student rules • Bathroom rules
Introducing Paraprofessionals to your Classroom(Gerlach, 2003) • Explain your class policies regarding:(continued) • Incomplete work, late or missing work, and make-up work • Parent and family communication • Other: • Discuss the plans of the students with whom the paraprofessional works • Provide a place for the paraprofessional to put his or her things try to get email access)
Ask yourself these questions…(Gerlach, 2003) • Did I explain what task needs to be done and why, how and where it will be done? • Did I explain how the paraprofessional will be observed and supervised? • Did I discuss how feedback should be provided to me? • Do I speak in team language, such as “It would be good for both of us if we…” • Did I ask for a specific action or did I phrase my request in ambiguous terms?
Ask yourself these questions…(Gerlach, 2003) • Did I provide a written plan? • Did I set a mutually agreed-upon deadline when I delegated a task? • Did I confirm important content in writing? • Did I ask if the paraprofessional had any questions?
Planning and SchedulingCompetencies: • Establish goals and detailed plans around which activities of paraprofessionals are coordinated. • Organize and manage schedules that allow for cooperation, planning and information sharing. • Consider the strengths, interests and needs of paraprofessionals when managing schedules. • Manage smooth transitions brought on by changes to the daily schedules of paraprofessionals. • Organize and provide materials and resources that are necessary to carry out the objectives of each paraprofessional’s activity.
Summary of Student ScheduleStudent Name___________________Grade______________________Date____________________ Please fill in class/subject for each half-hour block using the key (see next slide)
Summary of Student ScheduleStudent Name___________________Grade______________________Date____________________ Please fill in class/subject for each half-hour block using the key (see next slide)KEY -Blue - student is in independent class activity, no para in roomGreen - Student is in independent class activity, para is in roomBlack - Student is in independent class but para checks at ___ minute intervalsPurple - Student is receiving one-to-one direct instruction within general education classroomRed - Student is pulled out to receive instruction in a special education environment** Indicates problem areas/have questions and concerns
Steps for Delegation to Paraprofessionals French (2003) • Delegation is a process that consists of steps that can be learned by teachers even if they entered the profession believing that supervision of paraprofessionals was not part of their job.
1. Analyze the task • How urgent and important is the task? • Could someone else do it? • What are the component parts of the larger task?
2. Decide what to delegate • What are the student needs? Program needs? • What are the paraprofessional’s interests and skills? • What training or coaching would be needed for the paraprofessional to complete the task?
3. Create the plan • Identify the components of the task, limits of authority, & performance standards. • Determine how to direct and monitor the paraprofessional and when/how to provide needed training.
4. Select the right person • Consider interests, preferences, and abilities. • Consider the degree of challenge the task presents. • Be sure balance and rotate unpleasant tasks.
5. Direct the task • Clarify objectives and purposes. • Communicate effectively. • Set timelines.
6. Monitor performance • Create a system for feedback and provide it. • Tolerate and manage style differences. • Let the paraprofessional do the task and don’t interfere early on while he/she is still learning. • Document and reward good performance.
The role and function of adults in the classroom must be well defined in order for coordinated instruction to occur. Teachers and paraprofessionals working with students must take time to coordinate and plan together so that paraprofessionals are not left alone to create and design what they do with students. - Barbara Jo Stahl (MDE)