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National News & Updates

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) completed an online survey of paraprofessionals in 2006. The purpose of the survey was to document paraprofessional assignments before and after the instatement of No Child Left Behind. A pdf of the findings is available here, posted with permission of AFT. (Posted August 22, 2008)

A presentation at the US Department of Education's OSEP Project Director's Meeting on July 16, 2007 by Michael F. Giangreco (that was part of a larger panel on OSEP-funded paraprofessional grants), features data from Project EVOLVE. A pdf of the presentation slides are available here. (Posted November 6, 2007)

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has developed a database that provides information on each state's response to NCLB paraprofessional/teacher assistant requirements and policies. Research is offered from each of the 50 states regarding certification and qualification requirements, professional development and assessment tests. The database is on the ECS web site at The website provides the following documents:

Baber, A. (2005). Instructional Paraprofessional Statistics and Trends: Paraprofessional database research navigator. Denver: Education Commission of the States.

Campbell, K. (2005). ECS statenote: professional development for paraprofessionals across the states. Denver: Education Commission of the States.

An online literacy training series for teachers, tutors, and paraeducators is available. Called "T3: Train the Tutors," this training is offered by The NeuronFarm. Training modules include: 1) What to do with struggling readers?, 2) Why is reading so hard? What is Dyslexia?, and 3) What are strategies? How to use verbal and visual ones. These trainings can be access on The NeuronFarm's website at
(Posted August 31, 2006)

A presentation by Michael F. Giangreco, "Research on Alternatives to Overreliance on Paraprofessionals in Inclusive Schools" features preliminary data from Project EVOLVE will be presented at the US Department of Education's OSEP Project Director's Meeting on July 31, 2006. A pdf of the presentation slides are available here. (Posted July 24, 2006)

A recent journal article addresses effective peers interventions that may contribute to utilizing peer supports as an alternative to overreliance on paraprofessionals:

Carter, E.W. & Hughes, C. (2005). Increasing social interactions among adolescents with itellectual disabilities and their general education peers: Effective interventions. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30(4), 179-193. Full text pdf available, posted with permission of TASH.
(Posted May 9, 2006)

The most recent issue of RPSD (Summer 2005, volume 30, number 2) includes two articles that will be of great interest to anyone interested in paraprofessional issues. The first article is an experimental study by Patricia Devlin (University of Toledo) demonstrating the effectiveness of a training approach to increase general education teacher engagement with students who have significant disabilities and decrease in paraprofessional interactions, thus reducing the potential for inadvertent negative effects. The second article, by Susan Etscheidt (University of Northern Iowa) is a legal analysis of administrative and judicial decisions about the use of paraprofessionals in special education. The article includes summaries and analyses of 47 cases between 1997 and 2004. Here are the full citations:

Delvin, P. (2005). Effect of continuous improvement training on student interaction and engagement. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30 (2), 47-59.

Etscheidt, S. (2005). Paraprofessional services for students with disabilities: A legal analysis of issues. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30 (2), 60-80.
(Posted September 21, 2005)

An important due process hearing decision was rendered in Iowa. Here are a few key excerpts from the case summary. The Administrative Law Judge, "determined the district denied a high-schooler with autism FAPE for three years, and ordered compensatory education." Part of the rationale for this ruling was, "The aides, who were not certified in special education, were improperly responsible for the student's 'instruction, the selection of instructional materials, data collection, and behavior management." The summary states that one outcome of the paraprofessional providing the services was that "the student's isolation increased, in contravention to his IEP." The Administrative Law Judge "explained that the IEP and behavioral intervention plans must be developed, implemented, and evaluated by a trained professional."

41 IDELR (Individuals with Disabilities Law Report) 24
Linn-Mar Community School District and Grant Wood Area Education
Agency (AEA 10)
Iowa State Education Agency
February 27, 2004
IDELR (2004), Volume 41, Issue 1, pp. 95-115.
(Posted June 30, 2005)

In April 2005, at the annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children in Baltimore, Janet Hull of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Maryland) gave a presentation titled, "Fostering Student Independence: How to Develop a Needs Assessment and Fade Plan." The PowerPoint slide show from her presentation is posted here with her permission. FadePlan.ppt
(Posted June 7, 2005)

The journal Remedial and Special Education recently published a topical issue titled, "Connecting Schools and Communities: The Vital Role of Paraeducators" guest edited by Nancy K. French (2004, Volume 25, No. 4). The issue includes the following articles:

"Introduction to the special series" by Nancy K. French
"Critical factors affecting the success of paraprofessionals in the first two years of Career Ladder Projects in Colorado" by Christina Bernal and Lorenso Aragon
"The recruitment of paraeducators into the special education profession: A review of progress, select evaluation outcomes, and new intiatives" by Richard White
"The paraprofessional role of connector" by Ritu V. Chopra, Elena Sandoval-Lucero, Lorenso Aragon, Christina Berhal, Helen Berg de Balderas, and Diane Carroll
"What parents tell us about paraeducators" by Margaret Gessler Werts, Shirley Harris, Christina Young Tillery, and Rebecca Roark
"Paraeducator relationships with parents of students with significant disabilities" by Ritu V. Chopra and Nancy K. French
(posted July 22, 2004)

The Reading Partners Group (Washington Research Institute) has recently updated their web site:
THE READING PARTNERS GROUP is a research team within the Washington Research Institute dedicated to the development and dissemination of evidence-based instruction for reading tutoring. Research centers on the development of programs that can be used effectively by paraprofessional tutors with primary-grade students at risk for reading problems. Since 1993, the group has developed and directed Reading Partners programs; currently, there are five ongoing projects: Sound Partners Kindergarten, Sound Partners follow-up, Word Partners, Quick Reads Efficacy, and Effective Literacy Instruction Professional Development.
(posted July 22, 2004)

The Northeast Regional Resource Center (NERRC) is distributing the document, "Building Capacity to Attract, Train, Support and Retain Paraeducators" by Patricia H. Mueller, Ed.D. (NERRC Research Associate).
(posted July 9, 2004)
Click here for a pdf version

The Library staff of SERC (Special Education Resource Center) of Middletown, CT have developed, "World Wide Web Resources on Paraprofessionals/Paraeducators 2000-2003".
(posted with permission from Steve Krasner, December 8, 2003).
Click here for a pdf version

Click here for a text only version

Click here for an MSWord version

Read about paraeducator projects sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs (U.S. Department of Education) in "Research Connections" (Spring 2003). Go to
(posted October 3, 2003)

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has posted a variety of paraprofessional resources. Follow this link to their site.
(posted October 3, 2003)

At the request of, and with the assistance of, the School Superintendents in the Northeast Kingdom (Vermont), a group of three administrators, three paraeducators and one college professor developed the Northeast Kingdom Portfolio for Paraeducators. The portfolio is designed to serve two basic purposes: to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in a region that does not have a large pool of workers with Associate degrees; and to establish a minimal regional standard for employability. Further, it is hoped that the portfolio will assist individuals and schools in identifying and addressing training needs.
click here to view portfolio (pdf version)
The authors would appreciate receiving constructive comments. Contact Dr. Timothy Sturm at (
(posted August 1, 2003)

The Washington Research Institute of Seattle Washington, will have Sound Partners published by Sopris West Educational Services, available Winter 2004. Until then, you can order a copy of Sound Partners by clicking on the link (click on ordering information). Research on Sound Partners has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) from 1993 - 2003. Sound Partners is a one-to-one tutoring program in early reading skills developed by staff at Washington Research Institute (WRI). For recent articles by the WRI about paraprofessionals providing supplemental reading instruction see below:

Vadasy, P.F., Sanders, E.A., Jenkins, J.R., & Peyton, J.A. (2002). Timing and intensity of tutoring: A closer look at the conditions for effective early literacy tutoring. Learning Disabilities: Research and Practice, 17(4), 227-241.

Vadasy, P.F., Jenkins, J.R., & Poole, K. (2000). Effects of tutoring in phonological and early reading skills on students at risk for reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 579-590.

Jenkins, J.R., Vadasy, P.F., Firebaugh, M., & Profilet, C. (2000). Tutoring first-grade struggling readers in phonological reading skills. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 15, 75-84.
(posted July 24, 2003)

The U. S Department of Education has drafted a non-regulatory guidance document entitled, "Title I -- Paraprofessionals," addressing commonly asked questions about paraprofessionals and their qualification requirements. This 10-page guidance document provides information on issues related to paraprofessionals in a reader-friendly question and answer format. Pdf version available
(posted December 9, 2002)

The Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minesota has recently (November 2002) published a feature issue of their publication IMPACT, on Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities and At-Risk. Go to:
(posted November 11, 2002)

The recently reauthorized ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Act) known as "No Child Left Behind" includes some new provisions that have an impact on paraprofessionals providing Title I services. You can read the specific provisions in Section 1119 (c) New Paraprofessionals, (d) Existing Paraprofessionals, and (e) Exemptions for Translation and Parental Involvement Activities by going the following web link:
(posted September 19, 2002)

The National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals (NRC) has recently launched a new website at A major part of the website is an online paraprofessional community established by the NRC. There is a general discussion area as well as a category for each state where paraeducators from that state can discuss training, legislation, etc. Registration is quick, easy and free.
(posted July 30, 2002)

The College of Education & Human Development at the University of Minnesota has developed new materials entitled Supporting Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Schools: A Curriculum for Job-Embedded Paraprofessional Development (Ghere, York-Barr, & Sommerness). The seven-unit manual focuses on supporting effective student instruction in inclusive classrooms. It is applicable for both elementary and secondary schools. The teaching design is "intended to facilitate the transfer of learning from the paraprofessional development sessions to application with students." For more information, go to
(posted July 30, 2002)

Last modified April 15 2010 12:23 PM

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