Iowa

Department of Education

Best Term to Access Data Using Site’s Search Engine

Paraeducators

Compliance with NCLB

  • Paraeducators
    • http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=773&Itemid=1297
    • This link to the home page houses all of the documents reviewed within this section.
    • Legal Requirements and Reports
      • Highly Qualified Paraeducator Requirements Under NCLB
        • Highly Qualified Paraeducator Requirements Under NCLB
          • Defines the role of the paraprofessional who provides instructional support in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds.
          • States the federally mandated requirements
          • Makes recommendations concerning assessment used as an option to meet requirements
          • Encourages LEA to recommend that paraeducators acquire Iowa’s voluntary paraeducator certificate.
      • Paraeducators Who Are Licensed Teachers
        • Paraeducators Who Are Licensed Teachers
          • Memo dated December 18, 2009 establishes policy in regard to adhering to the definition of paraeducators’ role and discouraging the use of certified teachers for this role.
    • Guiding Practices
      • Paraeducator Certificate Opportunities &Institutions
        • Paraeducator Certificate Opportunities and Institutions
          • Iowa’s voluntary certification system for paraeducators is based on competencies that reflect the skills necessary for multiple paraeducator assignments. Although the certificates are not mandatory, the Iowa Department of Education strongly recommends that districts, area education agencies, and community colleges provide supports and opportunities to encourage paraeducators to obtain certificates appropriate to their roles.
          • Paraeducators can earn certificates in the following categories:
            • Level I Generalist PK-12
            • Level II areas of concentration
              • Early Childhood PK-3
              • Special Needs PK-12
              • English as a Second Language PK-12
              • Career and Transition Programs: Grades 5-12
              • School Library Media PK-12
            • Level II Advanced PK-12
      • Appropriate Paraeducator Duties
        • Appropriate Paraeducator Duties
        • This paragraph introduces this detailed seven page document
          • The Appropriate Paraeducator Services Matrix is intended to provide guidance regarding paraeducator roles to Iowa educational practitioners (administrators, teachers, paraeducators, etc.) who provide services to PK-12 students in general and special education programs. The matrix outlines appropriate services for paraeducators in classrooms in which they are the only assistant to a teacher, in classrooms in which they are among multiple assistants to a teacher, in behavior settings, in community-based settings, or in assignments in which they travel among classrooms to assist a student or groups of students. This document does not include guidance for paraeducators in support and related services such as Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA), Speech-Language Pathologist Assistants (SLPA), Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA), and other such roles. The Appropriate Paraeducator Services Matrix is intended to supplement information found in the Guide to Effective Paraeducator Practices II
    • Supporting Document
    • Paraeducator Rules
      • http://www.iowa.gov/boee/para.html
      • The following sites are embedded within this site:
        • Application to apply for a new Paraeducator certificate
        • Application to renew a Paraeducator certificate
        • Application to add a new authority to Paraeducator certificate

Standards to Measure Professional Growth of Paraeducators

  • Guide to Effective Paraeducator Practices II - 2007
    • http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=3926
    • A section within this document, pgs. 28-30, establishes the following competencies for paraeducators.
    • The paraeducator will be able to:
      • Support a safe, positive teaching and learning environment including the following competencies:
        • Follow prescribed health, safety, and emergency school and classroom policy and procedures.
        • As directed, prepare and organize materials to support teaching and learning.
        • Use strategies and techniques for facilitating the integration of individuals with diverse learning needs in various settings.
        • Assist with special health services.
        • Assist in adapting instructional strategies and materials according to the needs of the learner in content areas including, but not limited to, reading, writing and mathematics.
        • Assist in gathering and recording data about the performance and behavior of individuals.
        • Assist in maintaining a motivational environment.
        • Assist in various instructional arrangements (e.g., large group, small group, tutoring).
        • Demonstrate knowledge in the content areas of reading, writing and mathematics.
      • Assist in the development of physical and intellectual development including the following competencies:
        • Assist with the activities and opportunities that encourage curiosity, exploration, and problem solving that are appropriate to the development levels and needs of all children.
        • Actively communicate with children and provide opportunities and support for children to understand, acquire, and use verbal and nonverbal means of communicating thoughts and feelings.
        • Actively communicate and support high expectations that are shared, clearly defined and appropriate.
        • Make and document observations appropriate to the individual with specific learning needs.
        • Use strategies that promote the learner’s independence.
        • Assist in monitoring progress and providing feedback to the appropriate person.
      • Support social, emotional, and behavioral development including the following competencies:
        • Provide a supportive environment in which all children, including children with disabilities and children at risk of school failure, can begin to learn and practice appropriate and acceptable behaviors as individuals and groups.
        • Assist in developing and teaching specific behaviors and procedures that facilitate safety and learning in each unique school setting.
        • Assist in the implementation of individualized behavior management plans, including behavior intervention plans for students with disabilities.
        • Model and assist in teaching appropriate behaviors as a response to inappropriate behaviors.
        • Use appropriate strategies and techniques in a variety of settings to assist in the development of social skills.
        • Assist in modifying the learning environment to manage behavior.
      • Establish positive and productive relations including the following competencies:
        • Demonstrate a commitment to a team approach to interventions.
        • Maintain an open, friendly, and cooperative relationship with each child’s family, sharing information in a positive and productive manner.
        • Communicate with colleagues, follow instructions and use problem-solving skills that will facilitate working as an effective member of the school team.
        • Foster respectful and beneficial relationships between families and other school and community personnel.
        • Function in a manner that demonstrates a positive regard for the distinctions among roles and responsibilities of paraprofessionals, professionals, and other support personnel.
      • Integrate effectively the technology to support student learning including the following competencies:
        • Establish an environment for the successful use of educational technology.
        • Support and strengthen technology planning and integration.
        • Improve support systems for technical integration.
        • Operate computers and use technology effectively.
      • Practice ethical and professional standards of conduct on an ongoing basis including the following competencies:
        • Demonstrate a commitment to share information in a confidential manner.
        • Demonstrate a willingness to participate in ongoing staff development and self-evaluation, and apply constructive feedback.
        • Abide by the criteria of professional practice and rules of the board of educational examiners.
    • To add an area of concentration, paraeducators must hold an Iowa paraeducator generalist certificate and, through additional coursework, demonstrate the required competencies (pgs. 30-35). The five areas of concentration are listed below (each area of concentration has listed competencies).
      • Early Care
      • ELL students
      • Students with 504 plans
      • Children and youth with special needs in educational settings

Policy that Distinguishes Paraeducators Working with Special Education

  • Highly Qualified Paraeducator Requirements Under IDEA 2004
    • This paragraph is found on the home page (see site address given)
      • The highly qualified paraeducator requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) call for paraeducator qualifications to be “consistent with any state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in which those personnel are providing special education or related services.” Under IDEA 2004, Iowa paraeducators who provide services to students with disabilities do not have any certification requirements because Iowa’s state-approved system for paraeducators certification is voluntary.
  • Paraeducator Certificate Opportunities &Institutions
  • Paraeducator Certificate Opportunities and Institutions
  • It contains a paragraph explicit for paraeducators working with special education.
    • Additionally, paraeducators who work in special education settings and who hold a generalist certificate may complete coursework to serve as an authorized substitute for the teacher in their middle or high school special education assignment. The substitute option is not available for paraeducators serving in elementary special education assignments.

Resource Guide for Supervisors: Assisting Local Agencies in Supervision of Paraeducators Beyond NCLB Mandated Expectations

  • Guide to Effective Paraeducator Practices, Edition II
    • http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=3926
    • A document created in 2005 by Paraeducator Task Force Members, Edition I. Edition II was created in 2007. It lists the following potential uses:
      • A resource for assessing paraeducator skills and designing paraeducator professional development.
        • A resource for designing training for teachers who work with paraeducators.
        • A resource for preparatory courses for paraeducators and other educators.
        • A reference for requirements established by state and federal rules and regulations.
        • A resource for reviewing policies and practices to ensure they provide appropriate supports and are in line with state and federal requirements.
        • A resource for considering paraeducator certification needs.
        • A tool for accessing Iowa’s paraeducator certification institutions.
        • A resource for addressing challenging situations in paraeducator services.
        • A resource to enhance communication among parents, paraeducators, and teachers.
    • The section that defines the role of the teacher encourages teachers to:
      • Create and communicate a shared vision of teamwork.
      • Discuss ideas and problems with the paraeducator. Ask for his or her ideas, suggestions, and opinions. Use terms like “we” and “us” instead of “I” and “you” to reaffirm that you both have a responsibility for the classroom.
      • Acquaint paraeducators with school rules, policies for school discipline, confidentiality, health, and safety.
      • Clarify classroom rules with paraeducators: expectations for the class; daily routines and schedules; instructional procedures, strategies, and tools; and procedures for handling student work, room organization, dismissing the class, bathroom rules, etc.
      • Work with administrators to provide paraeducators a desk, mailbox, and a place to leave personal property, lesson plans, student work, and so forth. Many paraeducators travel among several classrooms and other settings during the day and may require a station in each setting.
      • Clarify the appropriate roles of the teacher and the paraeducator. Share your expectations and acknowledge the paraeducator’s expectations of you.
      • Share vocabulary/educational jargon in connection with student performance, assessment techniques, program planning, and educational methods. Nonverbal cues need to be established that will enable the team to communicate in the classroom.
      • Build time in your schedule to plan and communicate with the paraeducator. Plan a set meeting time, either daily or weekly.
      • Discuss the roles of the substitute teacher and paraeducator.
      • Recognize and respect the knowledge and expertise paraeducators bring to their role, ensuring that students do also. Each person has unique skills, special interests, and areas of expertise that are vital to the team.
      • Explain your teaching philosophy and teaching style. This includes sharing:
        • Teacher guides
        • Student motivation systems
        • Individualized education programs (IEPs) for students with special needs
        • Supports/accommodations/modifications for various students
        • Explanations of paraeducator roles in instruction (drill and practice assessments, adapting lesson plans according to teacher directions, and monitoring student performance).
        • Progress monitoring techniques
    • Clarify with the paraeducator and families the paraeducator’s role with the families of students. Be clear about confidentiality and the role of the paraeducator in parent communication and parent conferences.
    • Discuss and clarify discipline procedures in the classroom and expectations for managing student behavior. The paraeducator needs to know the written/formal and unwritten/informal rules regarding discipline in order to assist students in the classroom.
    • Discuss with the paraeducator his or her comfort level with assisting students with complex subject matter. Students with advanced academic skills (chemistry, advanced math, etc.) may need physical assistance from paraeducators who understand the subject matter, i.e., where to place answers and computations on assignments.
    • Provide paraeducators with opportunities for on-the-job professional development. Such opportunities could include coaching in the areas of behavior management, instructional strategies, and individual student needs (this is illustrated more completely on pgs. 39 -41).
    • Provide regular, constructive feedback on the paraeducator’s job performance. Share what the paraeducator does well and give suggestions for improvement.
    • Be flexible. Paraeducators are valuable assets to the team. They can provide needed support to both students and teachers. Be willing to listen, to experiment, and to make changes as needed.

Standards to Measure the Professional Growth of Teachers in a Position to Supervise Paraeducators

Not evident