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The Para Place
Paraeducator news and views...
Whether her students call her "schoolteacher" or "maestra de escuela," Josie Guillen will be ready with all the answers to their questions - in either language.
Congratulations to Jose Guillen from South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona who was recently named the Para Educator of the Year by the National Association for Bilingual Education.
In the article, Guillen states:
It was hard learning to juggle my responsibilities as a teacher, mother and student, but I was truly blessed to have such encouragement and support from my husband, family and friends," she says.
Here is a little bit about Becky Auger from the article:
"Becky represents the professionalism and dedication that all educators demonstrate daily in our state's excellent public schools," said Vermont-NEA President Angelo Dorta. "I and the members of Vermont-NEA are extremely proud of her achievement."
Auger is one of three paraeducators who lead the school's literacy program, which began in 2006.
She also heads two major school projects that help foster a sense of community at Moretown – she catalogs photographs of students as they grow up and she directs the school's annual field day.
In Connecticut, Congressman Joe Courtney spent the day with paras "in Mansfield Public Schools to raise awareness of the job responsibilities and expectations of Connecticut's paraeducators." You can read all about his experiences on this page, including links to newspaper articles, the press release and radio coverage.
Looks like a great way to promote the good work that paraeducators do!
Michelle Auger was recently awarded the Paraprofessional of the Year award at Richmond Hill Elementary School, an award voted on by her peers. Her husband Tim said this about her:
"I think she really deserves this," he said. "I know, on the home front, we couldn’t run the household without her. She loves her job. She has several different degrees out of college and she could pretty much go out and do a lot of different things if she wanted to, but she enjoys working here with the kids and the fellow professionals here at RHES. She’s always wanted to give back to the community more than doing something for herself, and that’s her way of doing it. She enjoys her place and she tells me it’s worthwhile and rewarding to her."
Northwestern University has put a number of videos on YouTube about students who are taking their online classes. One of the videos is about Jean who is a paraprofessional for a special needs preschool program. She discusses her work as a paraprofessional and her family life. While the video may be an advertisement for the University, it offers a good perspective into the busy life of paraprofessionals. See video below:
We have another conference prize winner, William C. Soltys of Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois has chosen the $50 gift certificate to Black Eyed Sallys Restaurant to use during the conference. Congratulations William! I asked William to tell us a little about himself:
I am in my 7th year as a Para-educator at Lyons Township High School in Illinois. I work with special education students as a one-on-one in regular ed classes. I enjoy working with students and watching them excel. I am also the co-president of our local Association. This is a second career for me having retired in 2001 from a career in Hospital Administration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am looking forward to attending the conference and bringing back valuable information to share with my colleagues.
Don't forget that there are two more prizes and we will give both of them to the next winner- a product from the NRCP Paraeducator Merchandise Store and one of our Training Manuals. We will select the next winner by the middle of next week, so get your registration in right away!"
More than 40 instructional aides from schools across Henrico County attended last night's public hearing on the district's proposed 2008-09 budget.
Their message was clear: Instructional aides should make at least half the salary of teachers.
One parent from the school district understands the importance of paraprofessionals:
Caroline Nelson, a Henrico parent, called these workers "the silent cog . . . that keeps the educational system moving forward."
Fortunately, the School Board was able to understand the importance of paraprofessionals as well:
(The School Boards) identified a two-step increase for full-time aides as a priority in the budget.
That increase would give the county's 363 full-time instructional aides, almost all of whom work in exceptional education, a nearly 9 percent pay raise.
If you have been thinking about attending the upcoming National Conference, but are not quite sure what to expect, take a moment to look through a few pictures that were taken at last years conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico or a from the year before in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Doesn't that look like fun?
What are you waiting for? Register Today!
Sara Doege is our second conference prize winner and she has chosen the $50 gift certificate to Mayor Mike's in Hartford. We asked Sara to tell us a little about herself:
I am currently working with students with cognitive disabilities at Slinger High School in Wisconsin. I am also currently enrolled at Moraine Park Technical College earning my Associates of Applied Science degree as an Instructional Assistant, and I will graduate this spring. I am traveling to the conference due to our fundraising efforts in the Instructional Assistant Club through Moraine Park Technical College and I am looking forward to the conference for the informative sessions that are being offered, as well as meeting other Paraeducators!
If you haven't registered yet, it's not too late- the early bird pricing goes until the end of the month are there are even a few prizes left that we will be giving away before then. Register for the conference today!.
The schedule for the upcoming conference has been released with 68 sessions covering a wide range of topics, including:
- Understanding Your Student With Autism Spectrum Disorders from Cindy Myers
- Establishing Policies and Creating Systems That Strengthen Teacher and Paraeducator Teams from Anna Lou Pickett
- Living Wage: You’re Worth It! from Debbie Minnick
- Degree of Work Satisfaction of Special Education Paraprofessionals from Peggy Akerman
- and many more!
Danielle Delaney has taken the time to post a 7 minute video on Youtube about some of the work that she does as a paraprofessional:
If you missed it before, here is an excellent video titled What do Paraeducators Do?
Sue Watson, from the About.com Special Education page has created a list of 10 questions to ask yourself before you decide to pursue a career as a special educator. Looking over the list, I think it applies equally to paraeducators. Here is one of the question she asks:
3. Do you have endless patience?
I spent many months working with a child with Cerebral Palsy with the main goal being achieving a yes/no response. After months of working on this, it was achieved and she would raise her hand for yes and shake her head for no. These kinds of things are often just taken for granted, this was a very big learning leap for this child and made the world of difference. It took endless patience.
The first winner of one of our early registration contest rewards is Mary McKenna- she has chosen the $50 gift certificate to Hot Tomato's. We asked Mary to tell us a little about herself:
I have worked as a para with children with varying levels of special needs in grades ranging from Pre-K to Second. This year I am working with our Resource Department in the First and Second grades and as a substitute, when needed, for our one-on-one paras.
Congratulationis Mary- we look forward to seeing you at the conference!
If you haven't registered yet, it's certainly not too late- our early bird discount lasts until the end of February. Remember that the earlier you register the more chances you'll have to win one of the remaining prizes...
We have selected the winner of one of our fabulous conference prizes. We will notify the winner tomorrow and then post the person's name along with his or her prize. There will still be some great prizes given away, so hurry and register before we choose the next winner- don't forget that everyone who registers before March 1st receives an early bird discount!
Kari is a "woman given the awesome task of raising 6 children, 2 of them with special needs". Her blog includes personal and insightful insights on raising her children and living life. Today's post includes an experience with her son Ben initiated by Ben's paraprofessional:
I answered the phone and Ben's 1:1 paraprofessional told me that he was escalating and that he had stopped himself long enough to ask if he could call me to help him calm. Wow! Normally when Ben is at a "4" on a 1-5 behavior scale he isn't able to ask for what he needs...and he did today! She asked if I could talk to him and I said, "Absolutely!" and she put him on the phone.