Para News

Paras in the News

Loud and Clear

This article introduces us to Grace Williams and here experience in receiving the Baha System that helps her to hear. Don't miss the picture of her on the left in the classroom.

Williams, a paraeducator, can hear everything, from kids chatting at their desks to the phone ringing from across the room, Allar said.

Smaller classrooms, individualized attention create a successful learning environment at Quincy alternative school

From the Quincy Herald Whig, a story of an alternative school that stives to meet individual student needs. The article mentions the role that paraprofessionals play in that role a couple of times.

"We're not there to make it easy for them," paraeducator Patrick Arena said. "It's a challenge, because we have to make sure they're learning everything they need to know in a smaller amount of time. Some of them have a job, kids, problems at home. Sometimes they're more focused to be more productive in less time. They know they'll be held accountable, or they're not welcome."

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Midyear Teacher Assistant Transfers- NCLB

Kilroy's Delaware blog has commentary on this article:

From the article:

The transfers, being done to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, will move assistants rated qualified to schools in poor neighborhoods, while those considered not qualified will be moved to wealthier schools.

and this:

"You’re pulling people in the middle of the year from a setting where the kids are comfortable," said (Louise) Graves, a 33-year veteran of the city schools.

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NEA Handbook and Training Guide

The Education Support Professionals division of the National Education Association has made available two excellent publications that you can download or view online.

The NEA Paraeducator Handbook

The NEA Paraeducator Handbook acknowledges the important role that paraeducators play in the educational system.

From the Handbook:

This Handbook is intended as an information source for paraeducators to give them a strong and accurate sense of the increasing nation-wide recognition that they are full-fledged members of the professional education team.

You can also download the PDF versions of the document from the right side of the page or by clicking here.

The NEA Paraeducator Handbook

Paraeducators and IDEA 2004 -Knowledge, Skills and Advocacy

Paraeducators and IDEA 2004 Training Guide "provides Association leaders and staff and paraeducators with information about IDEA 2004 and why IDEA 2004 requirements that affect paraeducators are met" (from their page). The manual is organized in

  • Recognizing and defining the role of paraeducators in serving students with disabilities
  • Promoting paraeducator training Promoting appropriate supervision of paraeducators
  • Promoting certification for paraeducators in states where no requirements exist
  • Examining compensation issues
  • Understanding discipline Requirements
  • Understanding IDEA 2004 Terminology

Paraeducators and IDEA 2004 - Knowledge, Skills and Advocacy - A Training Guide

Also

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Conference Sessions, FAQ's and Training Manuals

We have added a number of additional notes and presentations from the 2006 National Conference. There are now 18 presentations where you can view either the presentation or a conference handout.
2006 Conference Presentations.

Another new feature is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about paraprofessionals that we receive at the National Resource Center. If you have a question that you would like to ask, make sure you check out the list first!
Frequently Asked Questions.

Another project we are excited about is the availability of many of our training manuals for purchase online.
NRCP Paraprofessional Training Manuals

If none of that interests you then stop by our updated About Us page or browse some of the new messages in the message board.

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2006 Conference Presentations

Conference materials available here

A few months ago, we posted some material from the 2006 National Conference. Since then, we have done some redecorating and those files were lost in the shuffle. They are now available again in a new and improved format. Well, some of them are- the rest will be coming soon. You can now view the files directly in your web browser instead of having to download a PowerPoint file and open it on your computer. We are using a new service called SlideShare that allows you to easily share PowerPoint Presentations online. You can find the materials listed here.

You can see four of the new presenations:

Or notes from this presentation:

If you enjoy any of the presentations, please take a minute to leave a note in the comments at the bottom of that presentation.

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Final IDEA Part B Regulations Announced

The U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced the release of the final regulations to implement Part B of IDEA 2004. An official copy will be published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006. The regulations will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

From the the official press release:

Thirty years ago, America's students with disabilities were for the first time assured access to a free and appropriate public education thanks to a new law passed by Congress, now called IDEA," said Spellings. "Yet in those 30 years, too many students with disabilities have faced what President Bush calls 'the soft bigotry of low expectations." Students with disabilities can meet high standards, as long as we adults have high expectations and hold them to these standards. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, we are holding ourselves accountable for making sure students receive the education they deserve. And with these final regulations for IDEA aligned with No Child Left Behind, we are ensuring that students with disabilities are challenged and prepared for successful lives."

An IDEA Fact Sheet is available as well as an Unofficial version of the regulations.

Also consider the following press release from the Council for Exceptional Children titled CEC Pleased that IDEA Regulations Are Released, Urges Department of Education to Act on Missing Pieces PDF file

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Free Paraeducator Training

You may have heard of Project PARA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a no-cost self-study program paraeducators and a second program for teachers who supervise paraeducators. However, you may not yet have heard about the latest update to the Paraeducator Self Study Program.

As noted on their project history page, the project has been around in one form or another since 1993 and this is only the latest in "a series of efforts to provide options for preservice training for paraeducators in school settings". While it is possible go through both the old and the programs on your own, the training is designed to be done with the support of an instructor provided by your local school or district.

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Analyzing the Role of Paraprofessionals

Charles Fox at the Special Education Law Blog applauds the work of paraprofessionals and asks the following question, "...to what extent do schools overuse paraprofessionals as a quick and inexpensive 'fix' instead of providing a certified teacher to teach students?" He then points to Project Evolve (Expanding and Validating Options for Learning through Variations in Education). He also mentions a screening tool available from Project Evolve PDF document to evaulate, Is our school overreliant on paraprofessionals or utilizing them inappropriately?

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2006 Conference Materials Available Online

For those of you who were unable to attend this year's National Conference, many of the presenters have made their presentations and handouts available to you through the new conference materials page. The following sessions are currently available:

  • Building Better Behavior: A Program Describing Fundamental Behavior Strategies for Paraeducators
  • Building Systems in Utah: A Blueprint for Success
  • Hawaii State Department of Education and Community Colleges: Partnerships in Paradise
  • How Can We Use Assessment Techniques to Enhance the Learning of Pareducators? Or, How Do We Know if Our Students Are Learning?
  • Keys for the Future Paraprofessionals Becoming Teachers
  • Load Your Toolbox: Behavioral Strategies for Everyone!
  • Paraeducator Training: Making the Decisions and Finding the Materials That Meet Your District's Needs
  • Paraprofessional Orientation: Need to Know
  • Proud to Be a Para Because I Make a Difference!
  • Strategies for Incorporating the National Reading Panels Five Components of Reading into the Classroom
  • Study Groups As a Professional Development Model for Paraprofessionals
  • The Art of Synergy-Building Effective Teacher/Paraeducator Teams
  • The Choice is Yours: Do You Want to Help or Hamper Inclusion?
  • The Effective Use of Teacher Assistants
  • Tracking Student Behaviors' So That Administrators and Staff Can Identify Strategies to Help All Students Be Successful
  • Transition Needs of Older Youth With Disabilities

Look for more sessions available in the coming weeks.

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Places to go and Things to do at the Upcoming Conference

The National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals is getting closer and some of you may be wondering what you are going to do in your downtime - wonder no more! Check out our list of places to go and things to do for more ideas than you could possibly fit in during your visit. The list of activities includes a visit to the Mall of America, a Minnesota Twins baseball game and a Dinner Theatre. If you are looking for a group to go with then consider posting a message in the conference section of our message board

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