ERIC Number: ED337329
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Paraprofessionals in Education: Personnel Practices That Influence Their Performance, Training Needs, and Retention.
Pickett, Anna Lou
Increasingly, schools are turning to paraprofessionals to supplement the administrative and instructional functions of teachers. Because of their roots in the community, paraprofessionals are a special human resource for rural and small school districts, while permitting such districts to address the needs created by educational reforms, federal and state mandates for services, and chronic teacher shortages. Besides participating in all phases of the instructional process, paraprofessionals now are deployed in related service areas, inlcuding speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, crisis intervention for students with behavioral and emotional problems, early intervention and preschool programs, and case management. Meanwhile, the teacher role has evolved to include the function of manager of multiple human resources such as paraprofessionals and volunteers. Confusion over the roles and functions of paraprofessionals who work alongside teachers can be avoided through well constructed job descriptions, while retention of skilled staff can be enhanced by the development of career ladders that specify structured procedures for paraprofessionals' career mobility. Systematic training for paraprofessionals should combine on-the-job coaching with formal inservice training sessions. In addition, school districts should collaborate with colleges to design preservice and inservice training programs and to develop mechanisms that would smooth the transition of paraprofessionals into teacher education programs. (SV)
Descriptors: Career Ladders, Delivery Systems, Elementary Secondary Education, Inservice Education, Job Training, Occupational Information, Paraprofessional School Personnel, Personnel Management, Postsecondary Education, Rural Education, Rural Schools, School Districts, Special Education, Training Needs
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Rural Education Symposium of the American Council on Rural Special Education and the National Rural and Small Schools Consortium (Tucson, AZ, March 18-22, 1990).