NRCP Conference 2009 Paraeducator Professional Development – On-Line Style!
Our Journey No standard professional development for paraeducators in Kentucky In 1999, the Paraeducators of Kentucky Project was started with the State Improvement Grant funds Initially developed modules for face-to-face training A Paraeducator PD Cadre was convened in 2005 to begin development of on-line modules
On-line Modules Paraeducator PD Cadre included representatives from: KY Department of Education Directors of Special Education Teacher Consultants in the area of special education Paraeducators from Title I and Special Education PD Cadre initially developed 4 modules in Year 1 and returned with minor changes in representation to complete 4 additional modules in Year 2.
Our Journey Continues Module content and activities were developed by the Cadre and reformatted to meet Blackboard requirements Currently there are 236 participants enrolled with 138 module completions Working with the Kentucky Community & Technical College System to implement an articulation agreement
Current On-Line Modules PARA 101: General Knowledge & Values PARA 102: Maintaining Safe & Supportive Instructional Environment PARA 103: Assisting with Instructional Practices PARA 104: Assisting in Assessment & Evaluation Procedures PARA 105: Managing Behaviors & Enhancing Social Interactions of Students PARA 106: Communication & Collaboration PARA 107: Participating in Professional & Ethical Practices PARA 108: Community-Based Job Coach
Goal The main goal of the program is to equip paraeducators to better perform their roles and responsibilities in the classroom
The Puzzle To put together a puzzle you have to have all the pieces You have to have a picture of the finished product In order to successfully complete the puzzle, you HAVE TO HAVE the first two things Without them it is like putting the puzzle together blindfolded
The Beginning After teaching preschool for 10 years in a daycare setting, I started working as an Instructional Assistant for the school system Originally it was because I would be on the same schedule as my kids After 15 years it has become a career
In the Beginning My first year for professional development, I was required to work opening or closing day, and have 6 additional hours My 6 additional PD hours amounted to: 3 hours for Open House in the Fall 3 hours for Open House in the Spring I had NO formal training
In the Beginning (continued) I was hired because of my 10 years of working with children without disabilities I was placed in a position to work with children with profound disabilities Some call it on-the-job training, I call it “baptism by fire” And yet I SURVIVED!
Over the Years Over the years I have learned: The teacher is not always right Every student has SOMETHING to give Not every situation is the same Paraeducators are at the bottom of the food chain If you don’t laugh at it, you will go crazy
Paraeducator Summer Institute In 2008, I learned “I AM NOT ALONE” The Paraeducators of Kentucky Project presented a summer institute I never knew the Paraeducators of Kentucky Project existed As a part of my required 52 professional development hours, I attended this summer institute devoted entirely to paraeducators “I was in Heaven!”
REENERGIZED! For the first time in 15 years, I felt there was a place for me I was given material on information that would have been so helpful years ago For one thing, my RESPONSIBILITIES as seen by the Kentucky Department of Education
The Puzzle Picture By the end of the 2-day Institute, I was seeing the picture of the puzzle that I had been putting together for 15 years It didn’t have to stop there I was told about the on-line professional development modules I was excited to try these modules because I felt I was getting all the puzzle pieces at one time instead of one every so often
A New Beginning In one of the first modules, we had a lesson on “Understanding Disabilities” You would think I would know all I need to know about disabilities – but there was more…… Then there were the acronyms I learned BOC, BIP, MMD, FMD And all the other “words” that make up special education language
A New Beginning(continued) There was a lesson on the “Roles and Responsibilities” of paraeducators This would have been handy at the beginning of my career It was nice to see that I was doing things right, but it was also disturbing to see there were some things that I should not be doing (lesson plans).
A New Beginning(continued) For years I had been doing progress monitoring and now finally I learned the proper way to do this For years I had been working with students with IEPs and now I was learning to understand what an IEP was all about
New Tricks for an Old Para Each module that I have completed so far has a new idea or new approach that I can take to the classroom This has in turn been very beneficial for my students as well as myself One of the biggest things that has been a hit is a suggested website: www.coolmath.com
A New and Improved Para The modules have empowered me with the tools to present myself in a more professional manner They have enabled me to bring fresh ideas and strategies to the table when working with the students I can now confidently express my thoughts and ideas with faculty and administration on a district level I can access the modules anytime of the day or night
More To Do Part of our job is to instill in our students the desire for lifelong learning As paraeducators, we must keep learning to improve our craft We should search out and make the most of every opportunity Our future depends on it!
More Information For more information on the PEK On-Line Professional Development program, you may go to: www.ihdi.uky.edu/pek/
Presenters Marjorie Sheffel Paraeducator Campbell County Schools Marjorie.Sheffel@campbell.kyschools.us Barbara Locker Project Coordinator Paraeducators of Kentucky Human Development Institute University of Kentucky firstname.lastname@example.org 859-519-7374