University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

Paraeducator Support:



Johnson, M.M., Lasater, M.W., & Fitzgerald, M.M. (1997). Paraeducator: Not just an aide. Journal of Staff Development, 18(1), 6-11.


This article describes the authors' suggestions for essential content of staff development for paraeducators. This content includes: (1) paraeducators' roles and responsibilities, (2) learner characteristics, (3) data collection, (4) behavioral and instructional strategies, and (5) health-related issues. The authors also present a framework for planning professional development. They conclude with 10 recommendations: (1) communicate that paraeducators are valued and important to the instructional process; (2) incorporate the results of needs assessment; (3) provide ongoing responsive support; (4) include numerous opportunities for sharing, interacting, and problem solving; (5) allow for venting while ensuring refocusing and action; (6) build a solid knowledge base that reflects students' needs/goals; (7) offer concrete tools to take back to the classroom; (8) offer practical alternatives for responding to implementation challenges, (9) provide opportunities to partner teachers and paraeducators to experience professional development together; and (10) celebrate paraeducators' successes.

Summarized by: Michael Giangreco, August 20

Last modified February 14 2008 11:23 AM

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