Effective Training for Paraprofessionals

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With the reauthorization of IDEA 97, appropriate training, skill development and supervision of paraprofessionals and teaching assistants has become a necessity, not an option, for states and school districts. Provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 applied further pressure on states by establishing employment criteria for all paraprofessionals working in positions or school-wide programs funded by Title 1. NCLB tied present and future employment of paraprofessionals to a university/community college degree, two years of higher education, or a “rigorous” assessment of knowledge and skills in the areas of reading, writing, math, and readiness skills. Clearly, this most recent round of federal legislation has left states and districts scrambling to assess what personnel development systems they currently have in place, and in most cases, what remains to be developed to ensure their paraprofessional workforce is well-trained, qualified, and effectively supervised. The purpose of this article is to highlight successful training models or options that districts and states might consider as they endeavor to build comprehensive, competency-based systems of personnel development for paraprofessionals and their supervisors.


Originally published by University of Minnesota.

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