Did everyone complete the needs assessment on one of their paras? Give me a green check mark for yes, a red x for no. Did everyone have their para complete a needs assessment as well? Give me a green check mark for yes, a red x for no.
When you compared your results to your para’s, were the need areas similar? What was different?
Was there anything in your Para’s answers (including the self-reflection part) that surprised you?
Did you find completing this form initiated some discussion between you and your para?
Now that you have completed the needs assessment, you can use the information gathered from this form to help you in determining what areas your para requires the greatest need in training, coaching, and/or experience. We will soon be reviewing the notebook component that goes with this Needs Assessment.
Now let’s begin talking about conflict, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
Using the text tool, please record areas of need you and your paraeducator identified after completing the needs assessment? Record these need areas on the screen.
(discuss various areas of need posted)
Now let’s begin talking about conflict, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
A conflict is a disagreement between two or more individuals. Conflicts occur when people have differences in opinion or when individuals feel threatened.
Remember, conflict is a natural part of team development. When working with others conflicts WILL OCCUR. Think back to the team formation cycle from Session 2, the storming stage includes conflict. The process in which we deal with these conflicts helps our teams grow and develop.
We have disagreements with our students, fellow teachers, administration, and the paraeducators we work with. It is important that we understand conflict, why we have it, and develop effective ways to deal with it so that we can move on with our jobs and do the best that we can for students.
Basically there are 2 ways to deal with conflict. You can either IGNORE it… hoping it will go away
OR you can deal with it!
Place a star on the approach you typically take! ; )
As educators, we are used to solving problems on our own. We make quick decisions to modify our plans for the day because of a student’s behavior, or an absent paraeducator. This is an easy thing for us to do as educators.
We are challenged however when faced with conflict with others. We must learn to utilize an Interpersonal Problem Solving Process.
Reactive Problem Solving – solving a problem that is a result of a crisis or a dilemma. Requires quick thinking and quick action. Proactive Problem Solving – predicting a problem and solving it, or developing solutions, before it happens.
Step 1: Identify the problem. Problems can be well-defined (typically very clear, and easily understood), partially-defined (goal is clear, but methods for reaching it may be vague), or ill-defined (unclear parameters, not easily solved). It is also important that all parties see this as a problem. Step 2: Generate Potential Solutions to the Problem. Brainstorm a variety of solutions. Be open to new ideas. Step 3: Determine the pros & cons for each of the possible solutions. Step 4: Select a preferred solution. Step 5: Make Detailed plans for implementing the Solution. All members must be aware of their role in the plan. Step 6: Implement the solution. Remember, you must give the solution time to work. Often, problems get worse before they get better. Be prepared to be patient and give the solution time to work. Step 7: Evaluate the solution. Has the solution worked? Has the goal been met? Review the initial problem. Do additional problems exist? If so, begin the problem solving process again.
This model is taken from Interactions Collaboration Skills for School Professionals by Marilyn Friend & Lynne Cook
READ BEFPORE slide:
Utilizing “I” Messages may assist in the development of open communication and lead to more efficient problem solving.
Understanding where the other person is coming from, and not taking their views or actions personally may allow all parties to participate more effectively in the instructional team.
Important things to remember about “I” messages are…. (READ FROM SLIDE)
This model for conflict resolution is often found in the business world. It follows the premise that you cannot solve a conflict strictly on the “Positional” level. The “hard” position will always win, and the other individuals do not feel as if their positions were even considered. This model takes 2 (or more) conflicting positions and provides a way to focus on the individual parties actual INTERSTS. By attempting to solve the conflict at the INTEREST level all parties can leave the conflict with their relationships intact. Which is essential if we still need to work with the individual with whom we have the conflict. I will describe it by telling you a little story that many of you may relate to.
“A middle school girl is leaving for school in the middle of winter. Her mother tells her to wear her pink jacket. The girl refuses to wear the jacket and says it’s an ugly jacket and all her friends will make fun of her. They could go on arguing and arguing about this for hours… but chances are the mother would in the end force her daughter to wear her coat and the daughter would be angry (and probably take the jacket off as soon as she was out of her mothers sight!) So, the mother (because she is very calm at all times when dealing with her middle school child…) tries to look at the conflict from the perspective of individual INTERESTS of herself and her daughter. She wants her daughter to be warm… while her daughter wants to be “cool” and avoid being made fun of.
So, the very calm, intelligent mother reframes the conflict by saying, “How can we make sure you stay warm AND still look cool for your friends?”
At this point the mother and daughter can develop a list of some possible solutions… and choose one they are both happy with. They can both leave the house with their interests being met, and their pride intact.
Story & Graphic reproduced with permission by Betty Hollas.
So let’s look at this model in action in the classroom setting…
Let’s say we are working with a 3rd grade student who is struggling with his math facts. As the teacher, you understands the nature of the student’s learning disability and know that it will be difficult for the student to learn his multiplication facts due to poor short and long term memory, you feel that the student would be better off using a calculator for completing his math assignments rather than struggling with the basic facts. The paraeducator, coming from a very “old fashioned” view of education, feels that learning multiplication facts is one of the most important skills this student will learn. During a planning meeting one morning, you state that Johnny will now be using a calculator to complete his math work. The paraeducator gets upset and says, “How will he ever learn his multiplication facts if he doesn’t have to practice them anymore? I’m very uncomfortable letting him cheat like that with a calculator!” You know that this could really turn into a huge disagreement. You’ve explained your thoughts on Johnny’s memory deficits to the paraeducator before, but it hasn’t seemed to “sink in”. Rather than get into another argument about the situation, you decide to reframe both of your interests… You say, “How can we ensure that Johnny gets his math work done quickly with minimal frustration and he still practices his multiplication facts?”
You and the paraeducator brainstorm a variety of solutions that would meet both of your needs. You settle on allowing Johnny to use the calculator on ½ of the assignment while working out the other half on his own or alternate between the calculator and independent work between each problem. You are both satisfied with the compromise, and you feel Johnny’s frustration level in math will decrease.
Take a moment to think about your own situations. Do you have a conflict you are currently dealing with (or dreading…) that may be handled with this model of conflict resolution?
Have 2-3 class participants share a current conflict…
can each person’s interests be identified? How could you reframe the conflict? Will this open the floor for discussion between yourself and the individual with whom you have the conflict?
This process involves 2 or more opposing POSITIONS… Then you REFRAME the positions by looking closer at the positions to identify the various parities INTERESTS. You then ask the questions “How can we…” and include all interests. The group then brainstorms solutions, and chooses one everyone is satisfied with.
In Moodle, you will find an optional reading which covers this conflict resolution model.
Graphic reproduced with permission by Betty Hollas.
Of course we all would like to be able to work effectively with our paraeducators, there are times when all the conflict management and team approach efforts fail. When a problem with your paraeducator is persistent, and your attempts to resolve it have failed, you will need to involve your administration.
How many of you have involved your administrator in conflicts between yourself and your paraeducator? Place a star in the appropriate box.
The remainder of this session will discuss when and how to involve your administrator in conflicts.
It is important that you have documentation of the resolution attempts, directives given, and training provided to the paraeducator as it pertains to the situation to show your administrator when you meet to discuss your concerns.
“extraordinary circumstances” are not defined in a way that could possibly cover all factual situations that may arise. However, they include events where the safety of people or property is in danger because of the paraeducator’s action or failure to act.
Due process is a rule of fundamental fairness that assures that all employees receive their rights.
Further information on this topic may be found in the CCSD Human Resources Division Guide to Supervision in the Support Staff Personnel Chapter pages 67-99. All information presented in the following four slides was collected from this document.
The disciplinary actions described here have been adopted by the Clark County School District and the Education Support Employees Association, and refer only to the performance or behavior of an employee. These disciplinary actions can range from an oral warning to formal dismissal. In order for disciplinary actions to be effective they should be corrective, but may also be punitive and when appropriate, punishment should fit the nature of the problem. This is also referred to as Progressive Discipline.
We will discuss the typical sequence of remedial and disciplinary actions to be used. Some situations my justify disciplinary action beyond the next sequential step.
Conferencing: informal discussion with the employee and administrator. The goal is to assist t employee in fully developing his/her skills and abilities. The discussion may provide direction, clarify standards, evaluate the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, seek information, or solve problems. Oral Warning: The oral warning is actually a written documentation. This verbally notifies the employee that his/her performance or behavior must improve. This warning defines the areas where improvement is required, establishes goals for improvement, and informs the employee that failure to improve will result in more serious action or an evaluation which “Requires Improvement.” Written Warning: Informs the the paraeducator in writing that his/her behavior has not improved in a manner consistent with the goals established during the oral warning phase. This warning also defines in writing specific areas that need improvement and sets directives that outline specific required steps to accomplish the directives provided. This document is kept at the employees work location in their employee records. Written Reprimand: Serves as the administrator’s & district’s official notification that the employee’s performance is seriously below standard and that continuation or repetition of that performance is seriously below standard and that continuation or repeat performance may result in suspension, demotion, or dismissal. This also becomes part of the employee’s personnel record and is very serious action. An investigation and verification of facts must be conducted by the administrator before the written reprimand is given. Also, central office administration must be included at this stage of discipline. Suspension: Temporary removal of an employee from duty without pay. Typically made in cases involving gross misconduct or chronic behavioral problems. More information about suspensions are found in the negotiated agreement articles 32-4, 32-5, and 32-6. The decision to suspend an employee can only been made after consultation by the administrator with appropriate central office administration and legal counsel. Involuntary Demotion: Removal of employee from current position to a position of lesser rank, responsibility, or pay. Dismissal: This action permantely removes an employee from service. This action is taken for serious misconduct or when the administration is thoroughly satisfied that the employee has been give the opportunity to meet performance standards and has failed to do so. Dismissal is seldom used for an initial offense unless the violation is so serious that not other response is appropriate. Resignation: (an alternative to disciplinary action) Some employees may offer to resign rather than face disciplinary action. By doing this, the employee will loose the right to appeal. The CCF-164 is used for resignation.
It is important to note that each of these Progressive Disciplinary steps are initiated by the supervising administrator. The paraeducator has a right to due process throughout all stages of Progressive Discipline as well as the right to union representation at each disciplinary meeting.
Each step of Progressive Disciplinary Action must be documented appropriately. Administration may request that the special educator responsible for the supervision of the paraeducator to assist in this documentation process. When dismissal is sought, supervisors must be prepared to show valid evidence of the following:
Persistent Nature of Difficulties: Not-satisfactory conduct on the part of the paraeducator has been documented appropriate over a period of time. (except under unusual circumstances) Repeated Warnings: The paraeducator has been informed repeatedly of the not satisfactory nature of work or conduct. Should be located in written reprimands and evaluations. Frequent Assistance: Specific effort has been made to assist the paraeducator in remedying identified areas of difficulty, but has been unsuccessful. This assistance must also be document in written reprimands and evaluations. Close Supervision: Since identification of the employee’s deficiencies, the employee’s work has been closely supervised and the administrator must have personal knowledge of the paraeducator’s failure to improve. Ordinary Circumstances: It is important that the paraeducator has been observed under usual circumstances.
Documentation must be specific, extensive, and clear in order to be effective in supporting disciplinary actions towards a paraeducator. Below is information to assist in collecting appropriate documentation.
Specific in Nature: Factual evidence of deficiencies in specific abilities and personal qualities must be recorded. Specific statements are powerful, while general or vague statements carry little weight. Extensive in Scope: An single, isolated event (except in extreme situations) is not sufficient evidence to demonstrate incompetence. A number of occurrences or a pattern of instances of incompetence must be documented. Recorded: All specific aqusations must be backed by written documentation, compiled by an administrator, after the time when the situations or conduct was observed or noticed and brought to the paraeducator’s attention. Dates and Times: Accurate records of observations of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance as well as warnings and conferences must include notations of dates, the type of of activity being performed, the time of days, and the names of any witnesses. Original Drafts: Written evidence presented at suspension, demotion, or dismissal hearings must be original documents made at the time of, or immediately following, the observation and or conference. Surveillance Tapes: may be utilized as documentation of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. Written Statements: May also be included as evidence of unsatisfactory performance. These may also include time sheets, logs, reports, written complaints, attendance records, or any other relevant document such as lesson plans or classroom schedules.
Here are some examples of how to write clear, specific observations of paraeducator’s unsatisfactory performance.
We briefly discussed the CCF-70 Support Staff Performance Evaluation Report in Session II, and you have printed a copy of this form in the Session II Handouts. We will now spend a moment looking a little closer at this form.
As you can see in “general factors” paraeducators are rated Not Satisfactory, Requires Improvement, Meets Standards, or Exceeds Standards in 23 areas as well as an “other” category. More detail descriptors of each of these general factors may be found in the Clark County School District, Human Resources Division, Guide to Supervision, Support Staff Personnel pages 75-78. Please take a moment to read through these general factors on your own.
If the paraeducator is rated with a Not Satisfactory or Requires Improvement in any of these areas, the work performance deficiencies or job behavior requiring Improvements or correct must be described in Section E. Additional room is provided on the 2nd page, and additional pages may be attached as needed. It is important to keep documentation using the specific language discussed earlier if any of the general factors are areas of concern.
Other sections of this form include Section B – Job Strengths. When rating a paraeducator as Exceeds Standards, detailed descriptions using specific language is required in this section. Additional space is provided as needed.
Section C - Progress achieved towards previously set goals.
Section D – Goals to be set for the upcoming evaluation period. This is an area where your input can be highly valuable to the supervising administrator. Also, asking the paraeducator for areas in which they would like to learn more is a recommended practice.
Does anyone have any questions about any portion of this form?
Remember… the progressive discipline described in this session is to be looked at as a last resort. We cannot expect our paraeducators to perform their job effectively without direction, coaching, modeling, and on-the-job training provided by ourselves and site based administrators. Just as we would not expect students to master concepts and skills without instruction and guided practice.
Please take a moment to type any questions about this process of progressive discipline on the screen.
Do you believe this is an effective tool to assist in communication between the teacher and the paraeudcator. Did you learn about needs of the paraeducator you work with?
You will be asked to review the 4 sessions of our course in Moodle. The Moodle Course Review will also include a link to a Survey. Please provide us with your honest feedback about the course. There is a brief power point to review and a discussion forum that will lead you in a reflection activity.
Session 4 Powerpoint
Session 4: Team
Participation & Membership
Learner Outcomes for Session 4
Discuss Needs Assessment results
Distinguish between reactive and proactive
approaches to problem solving
Learn an effective model for conflict resolution
Determine when it is appropriate to involve
administration in your conflicts
Understand how to appropriately document
What is Conflict?
A normal, healthy process in team
Occurs when two or more people interact
and perceive incompatible differences
Or when individuals feel there is a threat to
their resources, needs or values
Interpersonal Problem Solving
Solving problems as a group approach
Fundamental to successful interactions
Steps for Interpersonal Problem
Pros & Cons of
Treat each other with respect
Use “I” messages to explain how you feel
Attempt to understand the other person’s
interests, wishes, or wants
Uses phrases like, “I heard you say…” to
What about you?
Do you have any current conflicts that may
be approached using this Model of Conflict
Model for Conflict Resolution
3. Ask, “How can
that each interest
5. Pick a solution
When and How to Involve
Administration in Conflicts
A probationary employee who receives “Requires
Improvement” or “Not Satisfactory” in any area will
not be granted “regular status.”
A “regular-status” or post-probationary may be
suspended or dismissed only for just cause except
when “extraordinary circumstances”
are present and a predetermination
hearing must be held prior to
suspension or dismissal.
Types of Evidence that Support Discipline
Persistent Nature of Difficulties
Characteristics of Acceptable Evidence
Specific in nature
Extensive in scope
Documented or recorded
Date and Time
Surveillance Tapes from Campus Security
Numerous, frequently, or
Safety of children is of
Is frequently tardy
with other staff members
Six children were shoving each
other about the classroom, two
children, Billy & Bob, were
knocked to the floor.
Was more than 10 min. late on
May 3, 4, 5, 8, & 9th.
Refused to consult with
supervising teacher regarding
Betty Hollas’ Presentation “Resolving Conflict in the
Differentiated Classroom” at the 2009 Differentiated
Instruction National Conference
Clark County School District, Human Resources
Division, Guide to Supervision, Support Staff Personnel
pages 67-99. 12/3/97
Friend, M. , & Cook, L. (2007). Interactions collaboration
skills for school professionals (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson
Gerlach, K. (2006). Let’s team up! A checklist for
paraeducators teachers and principals (4th ed.).
Washington DC: NEA Professional Library.