University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

Paraeducator Support:



Rea, P. (January 2001). Paraprofessionals: Training for success. Quinlan's Special Education Law Bulletin, 7(1), 1-2.


This brief article discusses the importance of training paraprofessionals while acknowledging that adequate training and opportunities still do not exist at a sufficient level to meet IDEA requirements in many school districts. The author states, that "the number of paraprofessionals in the school workforce [is] roughly doubling every decade." (p. 1). She also suggests that the shortages of paraprofessionals and the fact that schools can "employ three or four paraprofessionals for the cost of one teacher" (p. 1) will mean that the training challenge will continue to be present and probably will grow. She makes the following suggestions: (a) develop clear job descriptions (older ones are often outdated), (b) train your own staff to train, (c) match assignments so that experienced teachers are with novice paraprofessionals, (d) attempt to match staff training and experience to specialized duties, (e) cross-train so more than one person knows how to perform specialized tasks, (f) try to avert the problem of counterproductive dependencies, (g) solicit input from paraprofessionals about the potential content of training, (h) establish a regular cycle of training, and (i) train paraprofessionals and teachers together when appropriate. The closes by stating, "select the best candidates possible and then devote energy and funds to equipping them with the tools for the important work they do…" (p. 2).

Summarized by: Michael Giangreco, September 2004

Last modified February 14 2008 11:23 AM

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