Paraprofessional Skills Preparation Program - PSPP
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The Pressing Need for Qualified Paraprofessionals in Schools
The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) and the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP) recognize the increasing need for qualified special paraprofessionals in schools. In order to enhance this area of concern, they have created a Paraprofessional Skills Preparation Program (PSPP) whereby upon completion, you are awarded a certificate of completion that informs school districts and future employers of enhanced knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field.
A paraprofessional is an employee who works under the supervision of teachers and other licensed personnel who have the ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education and related service programs. Paraprofessionals provide assistance to a variety of students including those with and without disabilities, with health needs, with limited English proficiency, and others.
Typically employed by school districts and area education agencies, they work in a range of educational settings. The responsibilities of a paraprofessional can vary between districts, schools, and even between classrooms. In today’s schools, assistants to teachers are best described as paraprofessionals. Although nationwide information on numbers of paraprofessionals is not consistently collected and reported, rough estimates put the number nationwide at over one million (about 1.2 million).
Paraprofessionals participate as active team members in a variety of ways. Each program and level contains specific challenges and routines that are unique to the program. Your duties as a paraprofessional will vary from building to building, program to program, and student to student. In general, you are considered a “building professional”.
If utilized appropriately and effectively, paraprofessionals increase the likelihood of all students achieving individual student growth targets. They are beneficial in any classes that have students with identified disabilities. With proper training, established expectations and on-going communication, they are able to support students with identified disabilities not just in the area of academics but also in the area of social behaviors. Paraprofessionals are in a perfect position to model and demonstrate appropriate social skills. They help establish environments where students feel safe and nurtured.
The NASET and AASEPParaprofessional Skills Preparation Program (PSPP) is comprised of 5 specific MODULES:
- MODULE #1: Roles and Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals
- MODULE #2: Special Education Today: Basic Principles of Special Education
- MODULE #3: Educating Children with Special Needs and Classroom & Behavior Management for Paraprofessionals
- MODULE #4: Effective Communication and Collaboration with Teachers as a Paraprofessional
- MODULE #5: Confidentiality, Professional Behavior and Ethical Responsibilities as a Paraprofessional
Each of the 5 MODULES contains video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, supplemental videos and supplemental readings. At the end of each MODULE, there is a 25-50 question multiple choice exam which must be successfully completed to move on to the next MODULE. Upon successful completion of each exam, you will immediately be able view/save or print a certificate of completion of the MODULE.
Paraprofessionals play an active and essential role in their work with children and youth by providing encouragement, support, and assistance. They are critical to the social, emotional, academic, and vocational success of children and youth. Paraprofessionals are respected and valued members of the educational team. They understand the needs of children and youth and have the specialized training to meet student needs. Paraprofessionals have a professional identity and advocate for their profession by maintaining positive, supportive, cooperative, and professional relationships. Their value and the complexity of their roles are recognized as important to the success of the school.
The NASET and AASEPParaprofessional Skills Preparation Program (PSPP) offers you all the materials to be a competent, qualified and caring paraprofessional. In the end, completion of the PSPP will provide you with the knowledge, skills and abilities to be more confident working with children with special needs, teachers, administrators and parents as a paraprofessional.