District Administration April 2018 - 26

SPONSORED WEB SEMINAR DIGEST

Supporting Paraeducator
Effectiveness
Building cost-effective, integrated and
easy-to-implement training for paraeducators
A District Administration Web Seminar Digest * Originally presented on February 8, 2018

Paraeducators constitute more than one-quarter of the instructional staff in U.S. schools and districts.
They play a critical role, from providing behavior support to teaching both academic and social and
emotional skills to students.
Despite their important work, training opportunities for paraeducators are limited. Due to reduced
contract hours, paraeducators are not often included in staff professional development, and often
lack preparation and learning time during the day. Why do we often pair our least trained and least
supported staff members with some of our highest-need students? How do we help improve training
and effectiveness for paraeducators?
This web seminar outlined strategies for building cost-effective, integrated and easy-to-implement
training for paraeducators. The presenters included a licensed psychologist with over 30 years of
experience working in K12, and two leaders from a South Carolina district who have put a paraeducator
training plan into place and are seeing positive results.
Skip Greenwood: Training and learning need to be
thought about proactively. You don't want to wait
until you have problems and then engage in poorly
organized or crisis-oriented training. It is important
to develop a culture of learning and problem-solving
for your paraeducators. This culture involves providing access to key work related information, awareness about best practices, preparation to be learners
and team-oriented approaches to problem-solving.
We have a framework for how you might go about
organizing your approach to supporting paraeducators: STAND.
S stands for "skills." Specifically outline which
skills are most important for your staff and when you
think they should learn them.
T is for "top three things." Don't take on too much.
Prioritize learning. Too much information just ends up

with people feeling frustrated or lacking confidence
rather than gaining confidence and mastery.
A is for "alter." Alter misconceptions and myths.
You want to dispel whatever common myths and
misconceptions you think could be negatively influencing a paraeducator's thinking and behavior.
N is for "not all at once." This is about planful learning. Exposure to information in smaller, more digestible amounts is better than all at once, and is particularly better than all at once at the beginning of a
school year. It's better to provide information in short
increments on a consistent basis over time.
D is "demonstrate." Provide opportunities to put
learning into practice and to be able to rehearse
methods or skills to get familiarity. This needs to be
done in a structured way: "learn this, go try this", or
"learn this, go look for this". Give staff the opportunity

View, comment, share this story online at DAmag.me/321insight
26 April 2018

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2018

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