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Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators
 

Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators

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Training Paraprofessionals to Teach in Urban Districts

Training Paraprofessionals to Teach in Urban Districts

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    Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators Presentation Transcript

    • Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators Training Paraprofessionals to Teach in Urban Districts
    • A Presentation at the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference
      • Pamela Owen Brucker, Ed.D.
          • Southern Connecticut State University
          • [email_address]
      • Dana Corriveau, Consultant
          • Connecticut State Department of
          • Education
          • [email_address]
    • Why Paraprofessionals?
      • Experience working with students
      • Experience with school district and district policies
      • Connections to the urban community
      • Knowledge of diverse cultures
    • What does literature tell us?
      • Special Education is a shortage area
      • Severe shortages of teachers with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
      • Having diverse teachers may reduce overrepresentation of minorities in SPED ( Tyler, Usquiderdo,Lopez-Reyna, & Flippin, 2002)
    • More evidence
      • Students may perform better when they have teachers who mirror their race or ethnicity (Tyler, Usquiderdo,Lopez-Reyna, & Flippin, 2002)
      • Urban districts in CT have a high rate of attrition: more than double that of suburban districts (Special Education, CT State Improvement Grant, 2005)
    • More about Paraprofessionals in CT
      • CT State Department of Education identified 2206 paraprofessionals working in the most disadvantaged urban districts
      • In a survey of these paraprofessionals, 50% had an Associates Degree or higher, 27% held Bachelors Degree or higher (Glen Martin Associates, 2001)
    • More about Paraprofessionals in CT
      • In this survey, 26% indicated that they would be interested in pursuing a teaching certificate.
      • 10% of these paraprofessionals already held a teaching certificate
    • What Barriers Exist ?
      • Financial Considerations
      • • Work Schedules
      • • Proximity of Classes
      • • Years since completing last degree
      • • Mentoring Support
      • • Family Obligations
      ?
    • Activities Leading Up to PACE Program
      • 2000-2001: CES paraprofessionals
        • 20 paraprofessionals with BS degrees
        • No tuition reimbursement
        • Evening classes - three classes at CES
        • 9 paraprofessionals completed SPED certification and are teaching. Most have finished MS degree.
    • Next cohort
      • 2002-2004 New Haven Paraprofessionals
      • Funding for 3 classes from NH B of E
      • Remaining funding for tuition and books from FIPSE (Federal) Grant
      • 10 paraprofessionals completed SPED certification and are teaching
    • Current PACE Program
      • Up to 120 paraprofessionals in four districts: New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport, and Waterbury
      • New Haven started in 2005
        • Total of 18 paraprofessionals; 15 completed coursework and certified or DSAPed
        • 3 undergraduates completing program
    • Current PACE cont.
      • Hartford: 9 paraprofessionals
        • Completing coursework in summer 2008
        • 2 DSAPed
        • • Bridgeport: recruitment begun
    • Goals of PACE Program
      • Provide a pool of Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers for the urban areas
      • Maintain racial, ethic, and/or linguistic diversity of at least 50%
      • Develop a replication guide for use in urban districts to “ grow their own”
    • SCSU’s goals under the grant: #4 Develop a long range plan for sustaining recruitment and retention of teachers in urban areas. #3 There will be an increase in the diversity of the special education teaching workforce in targeted districts. #2. Urban LEAs will have a pool of licensed special educators from which to draw to fill personnel vacancies. #1. 120 paraprofessionals will be trained and earn licensure as special education teachers. Long Term Objectives: A teacher licensure program will be established which will recruit, enroll, support, and assist paraprofessionals currently employed in targeted CT school districts.         Project Goal:
    • Connecticut’s State Performance Plan is tied in
      • Six year plan for special education in Connecticut in 20 different areas
      • Have to report our progress annually to the federal government
      • Areas that relate to this grant:
      • Indicator 9 and 10: Disproportionate representation of students by race/ethnicity in special education and in specific disability categories.
      • Indicator 5: Least Restrictive Environment Settings
      WHY? Research tells us that there is a correlation between the diversity of the teaching staff in relation to the diversity of the student population – culturally relevant instruction and understanding of cultural differences.
    • How is the grant assessed?
      • Federal level – annual report every year
      • State level – progress reports every six months, site visits, focus groups
      • Outside evaluator – impartial, skilled in research and evaluation
      • LEA level data in personnel and staffing…
      • ??? SPP indicators 5, 9, and 10 (we’re getting there)
    • Some questions we ask when we evaluate:
      • Are the people in the grant getting trained and know how to use scientifically- or evidence-based practices? What percent of those people?
      • How many candidates have/will have certification? By when?
      • Are the candidates going back to the urban area they were in, or leaving? Why?
      • What are the barriers for candidates to proceed in the program? (sustainability and replication)
    • How are barriers addressed?
      • All tuition, books and materials are paid
      • Classes are held in district on public transportation
      • Classes are held after work day
      • Food and childcare stipends are given
      • Praxis tutorials are held ( bilingual)
      • Mentors are provided
    • Lessons Learned
      • 1. You need buy in and support from central office or your Board of Education – especially in light of changing leadership
        • Contracts, agreements
      • You need to know what the expectations of the district are
        • Release time from work, mentoring support, student teaching/fieldwork opportunities
    • Lessons Learned
      • Establish your goals/objectives early
        • What data do you already have?
        • What data do you need to start collecting – how?
        • What do you want your end result to be?
      • Data collection – start early and be clear about what you are collecting
      • Contacts needed at the university to help you navigate the system – admissions process, tuition payments, credits, classes
      • Be realistic about the amount of resources this takes – financial and human!