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Paraeducator Professional Development: On-Line Style!

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

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Paraeducator Professional Development: On-Line Style!

  1. 1. NRCP Conference 2009<br />Paraeducator Professional Development – On-Line Style!<br />
  2. 2. Our Journey<br />No standard professional development for paraeducators in Kentucky<br />In 1999, the Paraeducators of Kentucky Project was started with the State Improvement Grant funds<br />Initially developed modules for face-to-face training<br />A Paraeducator PD Cadre was convened in 2005 to begin development of on-line modules<br />
  3. 3. On-line Modules<br />Paraeducator PD Cadre included representatives from:<br />KY Department of Education<br />Directors of Special Education<br />Teacher Consultants in the area of special education<br />Paraeducators from Title I and Special Education<br />PD Cadre initially developed 4 modules in Year 1 and returned with minor changes in representation to complete 4 additional modules in Year 2.<br />
  4. 4. Our Journey Continues<br />Module content and activities were developed by the Cadre and reformatted to meet Blackboard requirements<br />Currently there are 236 participants enrolled with 138 module completions <br />Working with the Kentucky Community & Technical College System to implement an articulation agreement<br />
  5. 5. Current On-Line Modules<br />PARA 101: General Knowledge & Values<br />PARA 102: Maintaining Safe & Supportive Instructional Environment<br />PARA 103: Assisting with Instructional Practices<br />PARA 104: Assisting in Assessment & Evaluation Procedures<br />PARA 105: Managing Behaviors & Enhancing Social Interactions of Students<br />PARA 106: Communication & Collaboration<br />PARA 107: Participating in Professional & Ethical Practices<br />PARA 108: Community-Based Job Coach<br />
  6. 6. Goal<br />The main goal of the program is to equip paraeducators to better perform their roles and responsibilities in the classroom<br />
  7. 7. 25 Years & Still Learning<br />
  8. 8. The Puzzle<br />To put together a puzzle you have to have all the pieces<br />You have to have a picture of the finished product<br />In order to successfully complete the puzzle, you HAVE TO HAVE the first two things<br />Without them it is like putting the puzzle together blindfolded<br />
  9. 9. The Beginning<br />After teaching preschool for 10 years in a daycare setting, I started working as an Instructional Assistant for the school system<br />Originally it was because I would be on the same schedule as my kids<br />After 15 years it has become a career<br />
  10. 10. In the Beginning<br />My first year for professional development, I was required to work opening or closing day, and have 6 additional hours <br />My 6 additional PD hours amounted to:<br />3 hours for Open House in the Fall<br />3 hours for Open House in the Spring<br />I had NO formal training<br />
  11. 11. In the Beginning (continued)<br />I was hired because of my 10 years of working with children without disabilities<br />I was placed in a position to work with children with profound disabilities<br />Some call it on-the-job training, I call it “baptism by fire”<br />And yet I SURVIVED!<br />
  12. 12. Over the Years<br />Over the years I have learned:<br />The teacher is not always right<br />Every student has SOMETHING to give<br />Not every situation is the same<br />Paraeducators are at the bottom of the food chain<br />If you don’t laugh at it, you will go crazy<br />
  13. 13. Paraeducator Summer Institute<br />In 2008, I learned “I AM NOT ALONE”<br />The Paraeducators of Kentucky Project presented a summer institute <br />I never knew the Paraeducators of Kentucky Project existed<br />As a part of my required 52 professional development hours, I attended this summer institute devoted entirely to paraeducators<br />“I was in Heaven!”<br />
  14. 14. REENERGIZED!<br />For the first time in 15 years, I felt there was a place for me<br />I was given material on information that would have been so helpful years ago<br />For one thing, my RESPONSIBILITIES as seen by the Kentucky Department of Education<br />
  15. 15. The Puzzle Picture<br />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<br />It didn’t have to stop there<br />I was told about the on-line professional development modules<br />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<br />
  16. 16. A New Beginning<br />In one of the first modules, we had a lesson on “Understanding Disabilities”<br />You would think I would know all I need to know about disabilities – but there was more……<br />Then there were the acronyms<br />I learned BOC, BIP, MMD, FMD<br />And all the other “words” that make up special education language<br />
  17. 17. A New Beginning(continued)<br />There was a lesson on the “Roles and Responsibilities” of paraeducators<br />This would have been handy at the beginning of my career<br />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).<br />
  18. 18. A New Beginning(continued)<br />For years I had been doing progress monitoring and now finally I learned the proper way to do this<br />For years I had been working with students with IEPs and now I was learning to understand what an IEP was all about<br />
  19. 19. New Tricks for an Old Para<br />Each module that I have completed so far has a new idea or new approach that I can take to the classroom<br />This has in turn been very beneficial for my students as well as myself<br />One of the biggest things that has been a hit is a suggested website:<br />www.coolmath.com<br />
  20. 20. A New and Improved Para<br />The modules have empowered me with the tools to present myself in a more professional manner<br />They have enabled me to bring fresh ideas and strategies to the table when working with the students<br />I can now confidently express my thoughts and ideas with faculty and administration on a district level<br />I can access the modules anytime of the day or night<br />
  21. 21. More To Do<br />Part of our job is to instill in our students the desire for lifelong learning<br />As paraeducators, we must keep learning to improve our craft<br />We should search out and make the most of every opportunity <br />Our future depends on it!<br />
  22. 22. More Information<br />For more information on the PEK On-Line Professional Development program, you may go to:<br />www.ihdi.uky.edu/pek/<br />
  23. 23. Presenters<br />Marjorie Sheffel<br />Paraeducator<br />Campbell County Schools<br />Marjorie.Sheffel@campbell.kyschools.us<br />Barbara Locker<br />Project Coordinator<br />Paraeducators of Kentucky<br />Human Development Institute<br />University of Kentucky<br />blocker@uky.ed<br />859-519-7374<br />

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