Background and Introduction
Paraprofessionals are an integral part of special education services in today's schools. They are a vital link to the student as well as the community. The use of paraprofessionals continues to increase. Their roles are multifaceted. Paraprofessionals may have great impact on students with special needs and their families in relation to reaching educational goals. These issues have impacted the need for awareness and training to strengthen the skills of the paraprofessional working in schools today.
To meet the changing demands for skilled paraprofessionals in today's classrooms, the Arkansas Department of Education, Special Education Unit, has developed a training program for paraprofessionals who provide direct service to students with special needs. The training program is a collaborative effort between paraprofessionals, teachers, administrators, parents and their communities. The training is designed to be informational, practical and activity based for paraprofessionals.
The core training consists of three core modules, each six hours, which are interactive and enhance the knowledge and variability of instructional demands relative to the responsibilities of paraprofessionals. The sessions are presented through facilitator directed activities and PowerPoint presentations. The paraprofessionals receive handouts during the sessions that will serve as valuable resources for use when the training is completed. Pre and post tests are administered to the paraprofessionals on the expected competencies for each module.