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Paraeducator Professional Development: On-Line Style!
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Paraeducator Professional Development: On-Line Style!


Presenation from the 2009 National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference by Barbara Locker & Marjorie Sheffel

Presenation from the 2009 National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference by Barbara Locker & Marjorie Sheffel

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  • 1. NRCP Conference 2009
    Paraeducator Professional Development – On-Line Style!
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Goal
    The main goal of the program is to equip paraeducators to better perform their roles and responsibilities in the classroom
  • 7. 25 Years & Still Learning
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
  • 11. 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!
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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!”
    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
  • 15. 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
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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).
  • 18. 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
  • 19. 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:
  • 20. 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
  • 21. 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!
  • 22. More Information
    For more information on the PEK On-Line Professional Development program, you may go to:
  • 23. Presenters
    Marjorie Sheffel
    Campbell County Schools
    Barbara Locker
    Project Coordinator
    Paraeducators of Kentucky
    Human Development Institute
    University of Kentucky