Supporting Paraprofessionals: A District’s Journey from Action Planning to Handbook Development

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Presentation at the 2011 National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Conference by John E. Szalkiewicz & Maureen A. Pearson.

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  • If group is small, consider “Put Yourself on the Line” as an activity. TRIBES
  • 3 levesl: special services concerns, central office concerns, building level concerns
  • Supporting Paraprofessionals: A District’s Journey from Action Planning to Handbook Development

    1. 1. Supporting Paraprofessionals:A District’s Journey from Action Planning to Handbook Development<br />John E. Szalkiewicz & Maureen A. Pearson<br />Supervisors of Special Education<br />South Windsor Public Schools<br />South Windsor, Connecticut<br />
    2. 2. South Windsor Background<br />Suburban School District (Hartford County)<br />District Reference Group (DRG) - B<br />Number of Schools: 7<br />5 Elementary Schools<br />1 Middle School<br />1 High School <br />Total Student Population: 5,153<br />Special Education Identified: 584<br />
    3. 3. Continuum of <br />Services<br />
    4. 4. Specialty Programs<br />Preschool Outreach Program (6 sessions)<br />Intensive Preschool Outreach Program (Autism – 2 classes)<br />Intensive Elementary Program (Autism – 2 classes)<br />Intensive Middle School Program (Autism)<br />Elementary Medically Fragile Program<br />Middle School Medically Fragile Program<br />Middle School Functional Skills<br />High School Functional Skills (2 classes)<br />Middle School STEP (Behavioral/ED)<br />High School STEP (Behavioral/ED) <br />High School PEP (Behavioral/ED – off site)<br />Project Worth Transition Academy – 18 to 21 year olds<br />179 Students<br />
    5. 5. How many paraprofessionals do we have?<br />
    6. 6. 130<br />
    7. 7. Our Story – The Beginning<br /><ul><li>Desire for more appropriate job description
    8. 8. Need for comprehensive evaluation tool
    9. 9. High number of paraprofessionals
    10. 10. Budgetary Constraints
    11. 11. Need for fiscal responsibility
    12. 12. High number of paraprofessionals
    13. 13. Need for building level administrative accountability
    14. 14. Appropriate usage of paraprofessionals
    15. 15. High number of paraprofessionals</li></li></ul><li>Paraprofessional Audit<br />Requested by Assistant Superintendent with Board of Education support<br />Outside Consultant Conducted Audit<br />Included in the Audit:<br />Visitations/Observations to classrooms (#) <br />Teacher Surveys<br />Paraprofessional Surveys<br />Building Administrator Surveys<br />
    16. 16. Key Findings<br />Need for a comprehensive job description<br />Need for a comprehensive evaluation instrument<br />Additional fiscal responsibility<br />Building administrator accountability<br />Look closely at the usage of paraprofessionals<br />Ongoing professional development (paraprofessionals and teachers)<br />
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Development of an Action Plan<br />Goals<br />Objectives<br />Responsible Staff<br />Date for completion<br />Shared with a sampling of the district’s administrative team for feedback, support, and shared ownership<br />Shared with Union leadership<br />Presented to the Board of Education<br />
    19. 19.
    20. 20. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />
    21. 21.
    22. 22. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job Description review for paraprofessionals<br />
    23. 23.
    24. 24. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job Description review for paraprofessionals<br />Paraprofessional Evaluation<br />
    25. 25.
    26. 26. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job Description review for paraprofessionalsl<br />Paraprofessional Evaluation<br />Paraprofessional Self Evaluation<br />
    27. 27.
    28. 28. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job Description review for paraprofessionals<br />Paraprofessional Evaluation<br />Paraprofessional Self Evaluation<br />Evaluation follow-up<br />
    29. 29.
    30. 30. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job description review for paraprofessionals<br />Paraprofessional Evaluation<br />Paraprofessional Self Evaluation<br />Evaluation follow-up<br />Intensive needs documentation<br />
    31. 31.
    32. 32.
    33. 33.
    34. 34. Development of Documentation<br />Job Description<br />Job description review for paraprofessionals<br />Paraprofessional Evaluation<br />Paraprofessional Self Evaluation<br />Evaluation follow-up<br />Intensive needs documentation<br />Building administrator’s paraprofessional request documentation<br />
    35. 35.
    36. 36. Paraprofessional Handbook<br />
    37. 37.
    38. 38. Sharing/Training<br />Administrators<br />Case Managers/Teachers<br />Union leadership<br />Building administrators reviewed handbook/documents with paraprofessionals<br />Case managers reviewed job description and expectations with paraprofessionals<br />Special Services administration provided an update to the BOE on the action plan<br />
    39. 39. Strengths of Our Work<br />Development of processes and documentation<br />Paraprofessional Handbook<br />Building level administrator “buy in”<br />Paraprofessionals feeling supported/valued<br />Added fiscal responsibility<br />Improved communication<br />Action plan update provided to BOE<br />More improved allocation of paraprofessionals<br />
    40. 40. Areas in Need of Improvement<br />Ongoing review of paraprofessional allocation<br />Maintaining professional development and training opportunities within contracted time<br />Supervisory versus Instructional usage<br />Parent understanding of paraprofessional roles in regard to student needs and benefit<br />Including paraprofessionals in creating a sense of community at the building level<br />
    41. 41. Questions?<br />John E. Szalkiewicz<br />Supervisor of Special Education<br />jszalkiewicz@swindsor.k12.ct.us<br />Maureen A. Pearson<br />Supervisor of Special Education<br />mpearson@swindsor.k12.ct.us<br />

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