Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hello Everyone,
My name is Christopher Phillips, right now I'm the forum administrator and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.
I am currently a grad student at Utah State University in Instructional Technology, my undergrad was in special education and I taught for a year in a secondary setting and worked with a team of four of the best paraprofessionals in the world!
Anyways, let me know if you have any questions/suggestions regarding this board and I'll do what I can to help you out!
Christopher Phillips

P.S. I would also like to invite you to Post a Reply to the message and introduce yourself to the board- Thanks!


Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hi Everyone, Thanks for visiting. I hope all of you are planning on attending the 21st National Paraeducator Conference in Minnesota on May 2-4. Should you need information, please see our Web site at www.nrcpara.org. See you there! :lol: Marilyn

Working for Dekalb County Schools in Decatur, GA

I love working with children but when others get in your way of helping special education chidren it becomes a problem. Working for this county and especially the south end is horrible. The principal does not seem to care the assitant principal especially the male one is two faced. Please discuss at the conference a contract for paras because once again I am doing the teacher's job and not getting paid for it. If I don't do the job I am not a team player. I feel since I have to do this job as a substitute teacher I should get paid for it and also when the teachers decide they are going to be late I have to be a baby sitter until they get there. The principal always has something to say about the north end of the county where I want to be and always saying something smart beacuse my daughter graduated from the area. Please discuss contracts and salary. By the way now I am told I need to resign because I am doing student teaching and I will not have a job to come back to. I have a family member who is very sick and I need the insurance. Please accomplished something in these areas. Thanks


Paras used as teachers.

I go to a different classroom each day, and my classroom teachers are different. Some do feel it is a day off and a break for them and some even bring in extra children, that they are supposed to be taking care of due to an absence of another teacher. They are paid extra for these children, yet they put them on me. I do not say anything and I bring my "centers" that I have purchased to the classroom, and I try to tutor the students in what they are learning under the certified classroom teacher. Some teachers (and I love these teachers) divide the class into small groups and rotate them between us. Some provide their own materials and ask that I help the students. I have one who does not allow me to interact with her students, and uses me to do things that she does not want to do, and she is very cold and evil. I thank God I have a variety of teachers, and the office has told them to stay with me, but I am not there to stop them from leaving. I love my teachers and I rather be an assistant than a classroom teacher, and I have a degree and the experience. I find that the classroom teacher is overworked with paperwork and testing the students. I just want to make a difference in a students life and give them the one on one that is so lacking. Parents should do the same for their children. I do know some certifieds think they are better than paraprofessionals, but I look at the individuals. Teachers are born and can NEVER be made in a college. Many are in it for the money, and couldn't care less about the children, and then there are the rare few who are kind to everyone and really are excellent role models. This is a second career for me, and I am loving it each day.

I just wish they would stop using us as teachers, when it is convenient to them. I could be a certified, if I want, but I rather be a para, and open my own tutoring service after school.


Classroom assessment resource

Do you have a resource for the classroom assessment portion of the test? I passed the academic section, but can't pass the other part. I took it today for a 3rd time. I work in classrooms now as a volunteer, lost my career job 3 weeks ago and would like to work for the school.

Classroom assessment resource

I just need a little clarification. Are you taking about taking the Parapro Test to be considered highly qualified?
Are you then having trouble passing the Math portion of the test? I just wasn't clear about the :"classroom assessment": statement. Let me know more specifics and perhaps I can give you some ideas to help.

Classroom assessment resource

I passed the english and math portion. I can't seem to pass the classroom assessment portion.

Parapro Test

Hi my name is Edna Numa and I was working as a Para back in 2001.After working as a Para, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. So I took the 30 hours child care Instructor then the Child Care Administration which is the CDA.Then on 2007 I decided to enroll at Kaplan University to become a Paraprofessional. I took to many courses instead of college straight as a teacher. As I watch the news lately I see how teachers are getting fired like water so I change my degree to an ASIS in Physiology but I would to take the Para test while in school to works as a Para back again until I graduate.To provide for my family. Feel free to call me please at 786-286-5594 305-895-7793 thanks.

Please finish your degree to

Please finish your degree to become a certified teacher. We have many foreign teachers here, and I feel Americans should be hired FIRST, and all instruction should be in ENGLISH. My daughter went part-time to Mexican schools, and her instruction was in SPANISH by LOCAL teachers.

I do not have a problem with foreign teachers teaching EVERYONE in their native language, when working as a guest teacher. Many do not like my stand, but I am an American, and Americans come first to me. I know other countries put their natural born citizens FIRST. We will always need excellent teachers. GO FOR IT!!!

Are you part of a

Are you part of a union???????I hate to say this but you are allowing this to happen by not stepping up to the plate. Paras are not teachers and you and others need to get together and stand up for yourselves or it will continue.


I have been a Para-educator in Maryland for 5 years. I have an AA Degree, plus workshops. I worked in the Mental Health field prior to being a Para. I can honestly say, that I wouldn't do anything else. Being new to the forum, I'm just gonna sit back for a while and listen.
Good to be here.


Hello Everyone, My name is Edna Numa and my area of studie is an AA in Paraprofessional at Kaplan University on line, I'm a mother of three kids two boys and one girl. I'm glad be to on board with National Resource for Paraprofessionals.

Well, hello

My name is Mary Lee and this is my 7th year as a para in Missouri. It's my second career; I did research in diabetes at Washington U. Med Sc. for almost 30 years. Yeah, I'm old.
Anyway, I'd love to offer the kinds of things to the paras here that are offered thru the NRCP. I've got to work on it. Any thoughts?

Mary Lee Chivetta


Thank you for linking to my blog post, 13 Things I Enjoy About My Job.

I really do love being a para educator. I became interested in this job because of a very special teacher who made a world of difference in my daughter's life.

I'm glad to know about this resource!

Here's a post I wrote about math disabilities: http://joyce.taron.net/a-research-paper-for-paraeducator-ii-class/

Take care!

union infor

Hi My name is Jane. This is my first time here. I was curious about good unions for paraprofessionals. We use the term educational aides. I am secretary for a union consisting of 42 ed aides. We are the low man on the totem pole at our school. We make way less than custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers. Yet we work directly with students. Many times on a one-to-one basis. I feel we are not used to the best of our ability. My most important job this year is to potty train a kindergartner. Yet my teacher has fifth graders come in and grade papers. Our union makes health insurance available to us, yet it is very expensive. Our classified workers pay 50/mo; teachers are 100% paid for. Are there unions out there that are actually working for you? We pay approx. $30/mo in dues. Thanks

Hello from Australia


I hope you don't mind me joining in. I have not been able to find such a site as this in Australia and I have a great interest in the improvement of paraeducator conditions. I live in Queensland Australia with my American husband (he comes from Missouri). I was a paraeducator (we say teacher aide)for 8 years in a local primary school. The deputy principal appreciated my work. I was the first to introduce teacher aide reporting - writing a little report on the student for the teacher. It was a way of demonstrating a professional approach to my role, a way of collaborating with the teacher/supervisor and a way for the teacher/supervisor and myself to "stay on track" in regards to the work I was doing with selected students. The deputy principal suggested I do further study.

I now have a bachelors degree in Behavioral studies and Education. I am currently doing honors in Education at the University of Queensland. I have not forgotten my paraeducator past, however, and part of my thesis is research into the Australian teacher aide/teacher team. In Australia the teacher aide has less status than your paraeducator. I discovered this on a visit to Missouri in Sept-Oct last year. It is my understanding that as a paraeducator in the United States you receive ongoing training in relation to education/teaching and can, eventually, become a teacher. In Australia the teacher aide (those that work with children), in many schools, is really little more than a "mother's help". Many teacher aides fulfill the role of administration teacher aide with jobs such as: typing, photocopying, newsletter production and distribution, and laminating.

In Queensland there is now a call for teacher aides to have some training - a certificate in teacher aide studies - but there is no recompense for taking such training and no guarantee of a job if you do take the training. It is up to the schools to hire and fire teacher aides (which they can do at a moments notice) and include the teacher aide in any ongoing (in-service) training - teacher aides do not have to receive any professional ongoing training. There is no set career or financial pathway. The teacher aides pay does increase with length of service but it has to be continuous service. The school can fire the teacher aide and hire them again to keep their pay to a minimum.

I know first hand how frustrating it can be as a paraeducator when the paraeducator/teacher team does not work and how wonderful it can be when it does work. At uni, the only information preservice teachers were given was "beware of teacher aides as they can make your life hell" - hardly conducive to good team building relations. My aim is to improve this situation, starting small with just my university and perhaps expanding to other teacher learning centers in Australia. America is, I believe, light years ahead of Australia in the area of paraprofessional care. Just the name 'paraeducator' is a big step forward. Can anyone tell me how the name came about? Where American 'teacher aides' always called paraeducators or is this a recent development?

Also - does anyone know where I can get a copy of A.M Hofmeister's 1991 paper entitled Paraprofessionals in special education: Alternatives to casteism ? - it was a paper presented for the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center Advisory Committee Meeting, Kansas City MO.

I hope that there is something that I might contribute to your discussions on paraprofessionals. Let me know if there is something I can help you with.

Please help me if you can

Hello, my name is Ebony. I currently have a Level 1 Teaching Assistant Certificate. I have not started my sub assignments simply due to the fact that I am not sure I will have steady work for those 25 days. This has kept me from starting my sub assignments and I am currently stuck at my current dead end office job. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thank you
I am from NYC by the way and my ultimate goal is to become a guidance counselor

Trying to figure it all out

I am currently enrolled in college to become a teacher. Right now I have my teacher's aide certificate, but was told that I need to take the para professional test for the state of Oklahoma. Does anyone know where I can take it. I am a mom of an autistic son so I will be specializing in special education.





Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

ear Christopher, Thank you for taking on this new responisiblity. I feel this forum will not only be a valuable resource for information, but also will be a place of contact for encouragement :!: My placement is in special education. Never have I felt more qualified and contented in my life as working with the teenagers at Seneca High School in Seneca MO. I am able to combine life experience, instinct and training to reach the children and see good results. My supervisor is really a co-worker and there is mutal respect and appreciation. I have already met a few members who although may have serious concerns regarding their position, always make a positive comment. The para educator in true form is the one who labors for the love of it. :) I trust I can learn to Navigate my way through the different avenues you have prepared for us. Katherine

Hello all! My name is

Hello all!
My name is Leigh and I am going to be graduating from Columbia College in summer 2010. I am looking into becoming a paraprofessional. I am from Illinois and will be staying there for a while. I was wondering if anyone could just give me some basic or general information about becoming a paraprofessional in the state of Illinois. I have a ton of experience working with children with special needs, as it is my everyday job. I accompany a child with any special need to a class like gymnastics, or figure skating and support them in whatever way they need. I have a lot of experience working with children with autism and being a part of the at home therapy team doing VB therapy. I have fallen in love with this kind of job and need to know if becoming a paraprofessional is something along these lines but in a more academic setting. If anyone has any ideas PLEASE help me out!! I would really appreciate it! Also, my major at Columbia is American Sign Language Interpreting with Early Childhood Education. Please help!


Hi people I'm Kane. I am 25

Hi people I'm Kane. I am 25 years old and live in Kansas. I work in the Wichita School District full time as a Paraeducator and am currently working with K-2nd Grade Special Ed Children. I love it! Everyone take care and Happy Holidays!



Hi my name is Jena Haynes. I

Hi my name is Jena Haynes. I am currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education, with hopes of being a second grade teacher or assistant teacher one day. I am looking for advice in how to begin my career in this field; along with the volunteer experience in second and a Head Start environment. I believe I am off to a wonderful start but would like to get advice from others in this field as how and what I have to do to get my start. I love education and teaching has become my passion. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank You!

I am looking for a classroom

I am looking for a classroom management course to complete me getting paraprofessional certification.

can you give me any information on how to get this course?



Hello, My name is Tami. I

My name is Tami. I have been a paraprofessional for 10 years. I love my job. I have worked with SIED students my whole career. Yes, I say career. I think that if I had to continue my education I would become an SIED teacher. But I love my relationship as a para with students rather than a case manager. I have represented my school district for 6 years now as the Liaison for our paras. There is not much within district for professional development. So, I am out here reaching for any and all tools, materials and stories. I would like to hear from anyone that might want to share. Also, looking forward to the next National Paraprofessional Conference.What a great weekend of networking!

I have been working with

I have been working with children for 14 years starting in 1995 in high school.The past 6 years have been as a paraprofessional in woonsocket ri. My job title has always been PCA 1:1 with a special needs child varying in disability from year to year. Currently I have been getting laid off past 6 years and would get recalled. This is the first year I have not been recalled back. Presently I am a part time substitue working on a per diem basis. I do have my AA in Human Services with a concentration in Education. I also took the para pro assessment and passed in 2002. Any states hiring for paraprofessionals? I am a male, young and highly qualifie with alot of experience working with children just can not keep my position in RI due to cutbacks in the budget. I am getting so discouraged but I enjoy the work that I do. I'll close with a quote by Confucius "Give a person a fish and feed for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed for a lifetime". Thanks for reading! =)

I have just started a new job

I have just started a new job where I will be facilitating inservice training for paras in Jefferson Parish School System in Louisiana. I'm very excited about this opportunity to provide support to paras as a part of the team that directly addresses student needs.

I am the parent of a 29 year old with a developmental disability who is extremely independent. My previous job was running a family-directed family resource center in Jefferson and advocating for home and community based services.

Any thoughts you might feel free to share with me on what resources or training you would like to have would be truly appreciated!


Rose Gilbert, Instructional Specialist

The SUNS Center

Serving the Unique Needs of Students

3108 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119


Hi from Kansas

I am currently a student studying to be a paraeducator. I have always wanted to work with kids. I have two of my own. My son started kindergarten this year and volunteering in his classroom has finally inspired me to finish my associates degree and get paid to do what I am already doing when I volunteer. I think that paraeducators seemed to be underpaid and lack acceptance as part of the educational team. Does anyone have any imput to this?

Working with secondary Life Skill Students

I work with ages 14 to 21 year old student with special needs and would like to hear and network with other in secondary Life Skill Students. We have students with Down Syndrome,Autism, MR and Anglemann Syndrome. We mainstream with regular education classes and would like to know how other program work in the other States. I have been a para educator for 20 years but only with Life Skill/special needs for 10 years. Please feel free to email me at sanborn.tempest@evsd90.wednet.edu or sanbornb@clearwire.net

New to This!

Hi, my name is Kim House and I just recently recieved my CDA and am thinking of going into the special education field. I am currently enrolled in some college courses relating to paraprofessionals. I have a few questions I would like to find out about if anyone would like to chat, especially if you're in Kansas!!


hello everyone

Hello all,

I am a 26 year old who just moved back to Brooksville, FL. most of you would say where is that, well its a small city with alot of schools. I have previous experience working in group homes and facilities for persons with disabilities. I am interested in becomming a paraprofessional. I am having a hard time finding the position at a local school, i have been to their websites and see nothing for this position. I was wondering if anyone knew any schools that offer degrees for paraprofessionals in florida?

Hi all, I've been a teacher's

Hi all,

I've been a teacher's aide in a high school in northeastern Illinois since 2000 (I was off doing something else during the 2006-07 school year, but I came back!). Most of the teachers I have worked with over the years have seen me as a partner in the classroom. The work is fulfilling, especially when a student finally "gets it."

I'm trying to find some good

I'm trying to find some good websites for free online reading and educational games for kids. I have 3 kids ages 5 through 10 but they all read at about a kindergarden level so any ideas would be great. I just hate to pay for all these sites with out having any idea on which ones are really helpful. Studydog is another great online reading for kids program... they used to give it out for free for those that met certain conditions... sometimes schools pay for a licence. it might be worth checking out. Thanks in advance!

hi everyone, I am sam chn

hi everyone, I am sam chn from New york city.
I like to play online games, watching movies, hanging out with frinds . .!

sam chn

Para Pro job description

I am a para pro at a high school in Ohio. We have been working on a job description packet to help new paras so they have an idea what their job entails. If anyone has a good packet that their school uses I would appreciate any ideas you may have. I have been in the special ed program for 18 years and every year my job changes. This year I am in 4 inclusion classes, Biology, Geo Science, Horticultue, and Algebra. I have more work then ever before. It doesn't get better, it becomes more hectic, and little gratification. Thank you for your help.

hi my name is alyisha baker

hi my name is alyisha baker and my story is that i want to be a teachers ad.

How does Medicaid help?

Does Medicaid send funds to the school district for each individual child that has to have a one-on-one aide?
I realize that they pay for therapists.

I am one-on-one aide to a disabled student in a wheelchair. She lacks a lot of muscle coordination and requires help in writing, picking up things, completing schoolwork, and finding pages in her book. I also help in transferring her to chairs and bathrooming and taking her from class to class, and helping her with her feeding and care. Her brain is pretty sharp, but she needs help physically.

I was just asked to help with another student because the district can't afford to hire another aide for that student.

My question .... Wouldn't it be possible that funds would be available for getting the other child a one-on-one aide. How does that work?

The problem with me doing both jobs is that I am also helping aide the disabled student's teacher with a large class and help most of the teachers with other things when they need me.
I am usually correcting papers or doing some other task for the teacher, while keeping an eye on the child's needs.

I don't have a lunch break, since I help the child. And the only break time that I get will be used in helping the child with downs syndrom. She is a sweetheart and I wouldn't mind working for her, but I also know her mother would like a full-time one-on-one aide for her. And frankly, I sometimes need some down time.

Hi Everyone,

I am a para in PA. I have worked in NJ,NC and PA for the last 14 years. I love what I do, but I agree with alot of you who say we are underpaid and not appreicated as much as we should be. I would love to hear from any of you with new ideas for the classroom or new strategies. I currently work in an inclusive 5th grade classroom with a student with autism. Hope to hear from you soon.......

How to apply for a job with Para Pro

my name is Michelina and I would like to apply for a job in Waterbury CT I am currently working with the mentally challenged and disable in a day program.Is there anyone out there that could give me some information about how to apply at Para Pro? Thanks

Hello Everyone.

I am 64 years young and completed 120 hours as of
May 2005. I worked for the schools when I was 20 and then decided to work for Corporate America. I retired in 2001 and lived in Acapulco for a spell. I am now back in the classroom as an Earobics Assistant )www.earobics.com), and a bilingual assistant. I plan to open my own Parent/Child Tutoring Center for ages 3-6. I do not want to be a classroom teachers, but I do love being an assistant. I watch how I am treated and how others are treated. YOU KNOW...lol
My favorite website is www.starfall.com.

Introduce Yourself

Hello Everyone,

I am Colleen, I'm 41 years old and just moved here to York, South Carolina from Maine last August with my boyfriend and his mother. A move that all three of us feel was a good one for us. We also brought our pets with us. I have a pekines dog that turned 3 on my birthday. Plus she was a birthday gift last year to me from a family member. My boyfriend brought his cat that is bigger than my dog, A.C. is 6 years old. Then there is Taco, he is my boyfriend's mothers small dog, he is about 7 years old.
Since moving here we have added a kitten that is now about nine months old, full of energy and fun. His name is Yibit. No more pets. PLEASE!!??

I have three children that are now grown and on their own. They have all graduated from high school, my son had also graduated from a technical school for Urban Forestry and has twin girlas almost two years old. He lives in New Hampshire. My two girls are slowly working toward their college degree's as well. One is now married. She lives in Ohio, the other in Maine.

I am also in college, I enrolled in Kaplan University Online for my Bachelor's in Communication, concentrating on Organizational Communicatons. After graduation I am in hopes to become a National advocate and speaker against Domestic Violence. For all areas of this subject. I also want to return to college for my Master's in interior decorating, this is a passion I have had all my life.

My boyfriend also attends Kaplan University with me. He is going for his Bachelors in Computers, concentrating on Web Design. He is in hopes to be able to start his own company. He already does repairs and sets them up if some one needs the help. Some of the things he does just amazes me.


I am so glad I found this site. My name is Patricia I've been a Para Pro 11 years and have worked with children for over 28 years. I am the Computer Lab Director at my school. I work for a small school in a small town but we do great things here. We have a very loyal group of people in this area. We're having some problems right now with bus drivers and paraprofessionals. We have a big problem here with that. Over the years our role in the classroom have diminished and we're been made to take on the roll of a bus driver against our will. No one will help or listen to us. We are working 12 hour days everyday. Bus drivers are under paid, so there is a shortage their. I don't mind helping out but they have combined the two jobs. Aide/bus driver is the title. It doesn't apply to the bus drive only the Aide. I can be fired if I don't drive bus.
I am good at my job, the children love me and I have worked hard to gain the respect and trust. I'm on the School Improvement Council ,
worked on the Schools of Choice Project, BES Strategic Plan Committee,MAPP Testing Proctor, Compass Learning Administrator,Academy of Reading and Math Administrator grades k-6. What or who can help us with the problems we are having ? Can we be made to drive bus for high school , middle school children and be paid para pro pay?
I love this site even if I didn't need answers. Your site is very easy to understand and use.


My name is Ms. Grant and I work with special needs students in LA. I love what I do which has been about 15 years now. I have always felt that anything I can learn about my job will simply help me do it better. I hope that is what I can get here...

Paraeducator Wanna-be

Hello, my name is Jill, and after researching many occupations, I've decided I'd like to be a Paraeducator. I injured my wrists and hands four years ago while in training to be a medical coder. I've been told by an occupational therapist that I need a job that is "a little of this, and a little of that"... nothing too repetitive (like data entry) or too heavy (I can pick up my mini dachshunds). I have found that I love to learn (I'm trying to teach myself Spanish), and I really enjoyed studying with other people. I especially enjoyed helping my friend in our class who is dyslexic and can only hear out of one ear. I don't have any experience with children so I have volunteered to help at an after-school program at our community center. Can anybody think of any reason I would have a problem doing this job in regard to a hand problem? I have a friend who is a PE teacher at an elementary school and she thinks I would do fine in this job. Anybody out there experienced tendinitis or carpal tunnel?

Hello from Massachusetts


Happy Mother's Day to the paraeducators who are also parents! Thank you, founders of the site, for making the NRC site possible!

Currently, I am studying special education (in grad school) and have worked in various settings as a paraeducator for about three years. My undergraduate degree was in the Communications field. In a recent class, the professor told me and my classmates about the importance of paraeducator/professional collaborations and I felt glad that the professor addressed the paraeducator role, as I have experienced how the role can be ignored. Paraeducators deserve credit for contributions made.
Thanks for listening!

I am new

My name is Jo Anna, a recent recipient of an Associates Degree and my major is para-education. I am 53 years old with two grown sons and one of them is a fellow peer at this same college, I only hope I have inspired him and given him the message that "You are never too old to learn".

There were 3000 fellow graduates this past May, 2007...the highest graduating class in the history of the Salt Lake Community college. Only 3 majored in para-education, I hope this better my odds.

I currently have a job as an educator to people with disabilities, to help them learn life skills such as shopping, finances, cleaning and personal grooming. The pay is slightly lower, but I worry that para-educators will be harder to keep due to lower pay scale. I am currently checking the scale of different school districts in the SLC area.

Hello From Texas

Hi, I happened into this website by the grace of God and couldn't be more thrilled!!! I thought we paraeducators were alone in Texas. I have been a Paraeducator for 6 years, 4 in a Behavior Intervention Class, and 2 in Resource/Inclusion. It's great to finally have a place and people to share and compare ideas with. I am just sorry to learn that we are too late for this year's Conference. I had no idea there was a Nation Paraeducator Conference. I will look at all the information on the site. For now I just wanted to say, "Hi, and thanks for this site".


I just passed my test and was hired as a sub. teachers aide. I'm so excited!!! I'll be working at my children's school and couldn't ask for anything better. I'm looking forward to my first day.


Just wanted to say hi to everyone, I know now where to come when I have questions.
my name is eddie and I am a paraprofessional in DC. I worked with kids who had both mild and severe disabilities for 8 years, last year I got assess and was sent to another school where I now work with teenagers who have behavior problems.

while introducing myself I have a question,do anyone out there know the dead line for all paraprofessionals to be certified? the date seem to keep changing ,maybe someone have heard something that I haven't.

hi again and i'm sure that you will hear from me again


Teachers and Paras etc. losing jobs?

Who do they think will be teaching the future? We can have troops all over the world, yet we cannot give Americans a decent education. America will go the way that education goes....Stay tuned....

Hello from PA!   Just wanted

Hello from PA!


Just wanted to post and say "hi" to all the parapros out there!  I live in S.E. Pa. and have worked as a paraeducator for the last 9 years.  There have been many changes in just the last couple of years regarding our positions, and I would love to get input as to how things have changed for you....


What "type" of Para are you?  Special Ed? Title 1? ELL?  I am hoping that we can get this forum active so that we can all help each other!



   I won't use my real name

   I won't use my real name because of confidentiality, but I am an 8 year parapro vet., w/ the same title 1 school district in Missouri. I work in a severely handicap room with 4 boys, & 2 girls. I normally do bathroom duty with the boys , & have no problem with that duty. But recently I was asked to assist with another female para with a female student, that is physically disabled, & somewhat mentally challanged. I felt that it would have been humiliating to the senior girl, so I refused on those grounds. I was threatened by the room teacher to be written up, if I refused the next time she asked. My question is, what are the laws pertaining to this situation? The old SPED supervisor told us no way to be male on female in the restroom. The new supervisor has had no response to the situation. I am not real crazy about my job, but it's the only one I have right now. But I do not want to violate the young girl's

 rights. Her parents have not been informed of this new development. I do know that this likely should be on an IEP before I step foot in the restroom with her, but my bet is ,that her parent would be appalled if they knew. Please reply if you know the laws pertaining to my situation.

For your information: I

For your information:

I have teachers from foreign countries, who told me that their country paid for them becoming teachers, and all they had to do was work three years, and then they were FREE to work anywhere in the world.
America has programs like that, so check them out.One is called, "TRANSITION TO TEACHING" You do not have to get in debt to get a BS or a BA, but you must keep a C+ average to stay in the program, and teach in a poor school district for threee years.

Hi everyone! My name is

Hi everyone! My name is Candice, and I live in Texas. I work for the local school district, at the high school. I am currently taking courses to get my Associates Degree in Paraprofessional Education. I enjoy doing what I am doing now, and with my degree the school will pay me more than what I am currently making. I am not just taking the courses in order to make more money, I am also learning a lot of really useful strategies and lessons that I can use in the classroom. I am hoping that having an account with this site, I can stay up to date on things that are going on across the nation with other educational paraprofessionals.

Hi there! I am new here. My

Hi there! I am new here. My name is Caitlin Smeath. I am planning to study para education. I have an aunt, who is a special child. I would like to learn more about how to become a paraprofessional, because I know that I can be more; do more as to become an asset in this craft. I love the fact that I will also be able to assist, care, and love people who share the same qualities with my aunt, through this practice.

I have read many education essays that  provided good discussions on how to effectively handle special students utilizing paraeducation. I got interested and so I researched more. Now I am preparing for my post-graduate applications.

Hi, Christopher! I was

Hi, Christopher!
I was wondering what the laws are reguarding the number of teacher's aides in a class. I mean, how many students require 1 aide? My daughter is going to a new school this year that will have 9 students, with 1 teacher 1 aide, and 1 one-on-one aide. At least 3 are in wheelchairs and wear diapers. This is high school, so the students are in 4 grade levels.
Thanks in advance...Lu Carrigan

hi am looking to begin

hi am looking to begin training to be a para in WI--- special ed--

anyone have any ideas where to go?

Hello from Illinois

Hello I love this site however after reading the posts I am more discouraged than ever before.
I only stay at the school I am currently at because of the children. I have my assoc in child devel, and a B.S. in Psychology and currently I am working towards a Masters. It is so frustrating when many of the teachers I have worked with depend on me to adapt and instruct. We get no prep time and no lunch. Yes I know that I can change that but if I do certain students suffer and it is usually the ones who can,t speak for themselves. I have my own boardmaker and writing with symbols so I am able to do most adapting at home.But what do you do when you know certain goals aren't being met? when IEPs aren't being followed ? As a para I am also responsible for bathroom changing,feeding, walking students in standers, positioning and R and M. Okay I feel better now I didn't mean to sound off. Any suggestions ????

Hello everyone! My name is

Hello everyone! My name is Rhonda McCormick, I have been a Paraprofessional for 10 years now. I have worked with children with Autism for 9 of those 10 years, 6 as a one-on-one. I am currently working in a high school setting but have worked in elementary and middle schools as well.


The paras in the high school where I work likely have one of the best environments anywhere, but I'm concerned that younger teachers are learning during their college training that paraeducators, for some reason, are inferior. I'm very well educated with classroom experience at all levels through college with a couple decades of "real life" experience and don't have to do this for the money. Maybe it's just me or a generational thing. However, I've seen this definite pattern at my current school and others over the past 10 years. Do universities consider paras second-class educators or is this a serious occupation? I know my answer. I'd like to know higher education's answer.

Hello everyone. I'm Richard

Hello everyone. I'm Richard Finegan, a Special Education Tech in Southern California. I didn't even know about this organization until the "Para News" column posted a link to my article on the blog my wife and I publish for helping readers with autism, readerswithautism.com. My article on para-educators can be viewed at http://readerswithautism.com/2009/09/role-of-the-classroom-aide-to-help-...
I'd be happy to hear some criticism of the blog, and particularly of my article.

Richard Finegan www.paraeducatorcentral.com www.readerswithautism.com www.thedemandingclassroom.com




Hi my name is Shadia, Im from New Orleans. I recieved an Associates Degree and have been working in a law office for 2 years. After getting laid off I decided to continue with my education and earn a Bachelors Degree in Sociology which I hope to get in August 09. Although I wish I had gone in the education major, I been applying for a paraprofessional position for the past 6 month and finally got a call from the public school system in New Orleans. Im set to be interviewed sometime next year for an elem position Im so excited although this will be pushing my graduation date I think its worth it. My question to all the other paraprofessionals is How do you guys do it, was it hard, do you reccommend it? and what advice will you give for my interview with the school principal?

Hello Everyone, I am

Hello Everyone,

I am Marlene, I am 38 years old and Ilive in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have lived here all of my life. I am a paraprofessional at LHA Langston Hughes Chater School. I have been here since May 2008. Before working here I was a full time para at Thurgood Marshall Middle School here in New Orleans from 2006 to May 2008 and I taught 8th Grade Science and Social Studies. Now here at LHA has been a blessing to me, cause I enjoy working with all the different grade levels. I work with 2nd through 7th grade and it's been remarkable. I also attend Delgado Commuinity College full time. I'm majoring in Care and Development of The Young Children. I have already earned 120 hours in my field.
I am a mother of six wonderful children and also a grandmother of two handsome grandsons. Two of my daughters attend LHA one is in the 4th grade and the other is in the 7th grade. My son has enrolled in the Army and my oldest daughter attends Southern University and she is marjoring in social services. My other two daughters attend the same high school here in New Orleans John McDough Senior High one is a senior and she will be grauding with her hair licenses and she is also in the army reserve and my other daughter is a 10th grader.
I'm glade I have the chance to get to know other people and I hope to speak with all of you again soon!! Glade to meet all of you.
God Bless!!!


That is not fair. Write the newspapers and let the parents know. The hours are not safe. The two jobs are different. I will pray for you.



I have pets too

And I thought it was a house full of 4 cats.

You have way too many animals and I identify.


Happy Holidays to you and all the Paras in the world. We are the "oil" that makes schools run.....

Hi Kane!

I just thought I would ask you some questions if you don't mind. I really don't understand this message thing, so if you can email me at kmaisch@hotmail.com, I would really appreciate it!

you are doing too much

I think you are doing too much. I think it could be illegal too. Don't you have a union? You really need one.
I wonder what state you work in? Try contacting your AFT American Federation of Teachers union or NEA and see if they would help you get a union.
We paras like our jobs and truely want to help these children, but we also want respect as well.

Hello from Illinois

Welcome aboard! In previous discussions, we addressed the issues of licensed teacher/ paraeducator roles under the "Frustrations" topic in the "General Chitchat" forum. Marilyn Likins, the co-director of the NRCP had suggestions, too. Good luck on your studies!

Working with the mentally challange kids

Hi, Michelina

How are you? This is Edna Numa, I'm glad that you worked with menatally challange kids. I know how challanging your job can be everyday. They are a bunch of special needs students but they are very smart also. I have two of my nephews that are mentally challange but they love to draw and their art work is beuatiful. I hope that you continue doing the good work that you doing they kids needs love and attention alot of attention so please provide them with that for me thanks.

I'm sorry for your problems

After reading what you wrote, I love my job. Special School District of St. Louis County covers 27 school districts in St. Louis county. I know people who have moved here so their kids can go to a school we service. The middle school I work at has around 800 students and about 150 of them receive services from 10 teachers and 9 paras that work for SSD in the school. The IEP's are written by the teachers and followed by the rest of the teaching staff with input from the SSD staff. Some but not all of the students are shadowed. The problems you have are serious and the kids are suffering as are you. Do the parents understand what's going on? They need to. I hesitate to mention legal issues; I don't know enough. But I sure do have an opinion. Mary Lee


Hi Bucky,

Though I cannot speak for higher education, I can definitely add a perspective as a current student teacher (for special ed. students) who has previously served as a paraeducator. I am grateful for the experiences (both highs and lows) that I had as a paraeducator. Although there are differences between the paraeducator's role and the licensed teacher's role, the role of the paraeducator is still important (especially for special education students who may require 1:1 support! ) There are teachers and administrators who display negative attitudes toward paraeducators. However, there are others who value paraeducators' contributions (and I hope to join the latter category, as I haven't forgotten that I started out as a paraeducator!)

Marilyn's picture


I can understand yours and others frustrations. If you take some time to review different locations on our website and read some of the literature (i.e., State of the Art), training materials, resources, news letters, and other websites for paraeducators I think you will find that paraeducators (e.g, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants, teacher's aides) have been in our schools for well over forty years. The NRCP has always advocated for clear distinctions between paraeducator's and teacher's roles and argued the case for relevant ongoing training for paraeducators tied to their roles. In reference to your concern, the other vital piece is training for teachers at both the university and district level in "effective supervision practices". Most teachers are not taught how to effectively delegate and provide on the job training for the paraeducators for whom they are responsible. In fact, many administrators are not aware of the key role they play in "supporting teacher and paraeducator teams". There are some excellent training programs and books available for training teachers in their supervisory roles just as there are fine validated books and programs to train paraeducators in their instructional and management roles. Let me know if you are interested and I can recommend some that you could read and pass on to increase awareness levels of your faculty and staff.

As someone said in an earlier post, paraeducators are the glue that make schools work. You are on the front lines, working with some of the most challenging students, going the extra mile to make sure students are successful. Training and supervision are key to your success. Training for all teachers who work with paraeducators should also be a requirement in all districts as well as teacher preparation programs

Bucky, thanks for your comments and concerns. Hope to see you at the national conference. These are the exact issues discussed with many solutions offered from across the states.

Marilyn Likins
Co-director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Marilyn Likins
Director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Boy, check the pay. Most of

Boy, check the pay. Most of the paras I know have their husbands income to add to. We don't make much here in Missouri, so don't let it put your degree off by much. It would definitely let you know if you want to pursue an ed. degree. The work's not hard, but can be frustrating, because of many things: the school district, the administration, the building gen.ed. teachers, your own special ed staff. I'm in my 7th year and it's not as perfect as my last job which I did for 30 years, but I get summers off (which you would do if you were a teacher). I do it for the kids, which is the same reason the teachers are here.

Re: Recognition

Per your comment, I think it's the younger generation. I'm not sure that it's any different than when we were young or not

I would like to know the

I would like to know the same. I became a para after having an in home daycare for 7 years state cerified with many hours of continueing education. All of which is in early child hood devel. Went and got cerified in "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND." The school I went to work for gave me 3 years of classroom expirence for the 7 years I had my daycare. This was great!!! That meant that I didn't start out on the bottum of the pay scale. A lady I worked with had her assoc. She and I became best friends. Later in our friendship we discussed our pay. We were both hired at the same time, however she had subed for 6 months in this classroom before we were hired. The school hired me in making a dollar more an hour than her. It didn't make her to mad at me for it because I had work 7 years more than her with children. I moved two years ago leaving behind some awesome friendships that I had made with parents students and staff. My husband took a job out of state. For the 3 years I work for the school they were great. I moved to Oklahoma and what a shock!!!!!!!! I had when I went for an interview for a paras position at an elementry school. The pay or I should say the lack of just really floored me. I left make $15.00hr. This school want to pay me $6.25hr. Needless to say I told the school superintent what the lady from back home told me when I hired on with the first school I work for said and I quote, " You do this job for the love of the kids not for the pay because the PAY SUCKS." And it was part time. Well, I went in search of employment else where. I landed in Kansas. Look toto what the wind blew in. The pay here is not that great eigther. Well I can say it's better than $6.25hr., but at the rate I going it will take a few more years before I come close to what I was making back home. Here in this school district that I work in now paras don't get paid for holidays, summers off, school holidays, spring break, fall breaks, ect... you get the picture. I was not use to this. I work for a really awesome teacher, she too was a para at one time so she has a clue to what it is a para does. I would like to know why paras don't get paid for the work they do. With all the lefting, restrooming, feeding, transferring, physical therapy, personal hygiene, behavioral issues, paper work, dangerous student behavior, keeping the teacher informed, and grading, with all the disabilities of today, working in other classrooms, answering to those teachers and god forbied you to be late to those classes, you have to answer for why little Johnny has an F in Ms IT"S class because little Johnny didn't turn in his work you help him complete, helping not just special educational students not to signal them out but the general ed students also and this is to name just a few of things paraeducator does on a daily bases. Why are we paid so little? I work with a lady who has been a para in this school disrict for 10 odd years and is only making 11.00hrs. this really gets to me. This women has work for this many years and is paid so little. She lives by herself no children at home. Just her, She has to work two other jobs just to make ends meet. I feel sorry for her because she has like the rest of us a car note, house note, insurence, light bill, water, grocery and OH, YA!!! "GAS PRICES" I don't see how she makes it on $11.00hr. I have surfed the internet checking out the other school dis. pay rate for paras. They all want you to do the same thing and all want you to be EDUCATED but there are few and far between school dis that are willing to pay good wages for a para. I am glade to say I have work for one! So, I will repeat what lady friend once said, "WE DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF THE KIDS, NOT THE PAY BECAUSE THE PAY SUCKS." We educate the Doctors, Layers, Presidents, CEO, Bankers, Wall Street, and the rest of America. I would like to know Why They all make more than we (Teachers and Paras) do? We educate them all.

Just a para

Hello From Illinois

It is up to the teacher to adapt any curriculm and unless you have a teaching degree I would have the teacher do the adapt and you are to assist in instruction with the students. I would go to your Union Rep. or Special Education director if you are not getting paid prep time or lunch. I am lucky to work with a teachers who treat the paras as part of the team. The teacher listen to our ideas and suggestions but we make sure we do not cross the line in taken on the role as a teacher. Our teachers make sure we have the time and materials to do all the adaption on school time. I use the boardmarker and make all the materials we need during staff work days,and before school when the staff come back to school before the students. I would suggest you take steps to make sure the IEP are being followed and if the Teacher is not meeting the goals than the Special ED director or Principal needs to know this but I also know that at most schools Paras are seen as inferior to Teachers but I like to see the Teacher see to the students needs both physically,emotionally and educational in one day like most Para's do and with the pay that we receive as well. Feel free to sound off any time and email me and let me know how it is going now. I do not post often but do have facebook that I use for networking with others in my profession.

Hello KWagner1

Hello KWagner1,

Welcome to the site! It's great how you have experience working with people who have disabilities! Public schools have different methods of hiring staff; sometimes, another agency may hire staff for specific positions (or at least that has been my experience in special education). Have you tried looking at other agencies? Also, a paraprofessional position may open up, if there's a need for services (for example, if a new student with an IEP transfers to the school, staff leave, or other situations occur). Best wishes in your job search!


My name is Dee. I was actually a special education assistant, who got treated like an IA. I lost my job last June due to what they said was budget cuts I believe it was because I was 6 months pregnant. Anyway, I was an hourly asst in special ed who had the responsibilty of an IA. I taught 3rd graders reading and math while the classroom teacher sat at her computer everyday. Sometimes I took on the responsibility of taking on 13 kids at once. Special ed is hard and 13 kids is really hard. Anyway, we were informed that 2 positions were being cut. They said that we had to write a letter to the supervisor of special ed at the board stating that we want to keep out positions. The classroom teacher evaluated us giving the only instructional asst 8 poors on her evaluation, another assistant got 7 poors, the third assistant got 1 poor, and I had a perfect report. Since the instructional assistant who got 8 poors was certified, she was able to get a free pass. So it was a race between 3 of us for the last slot. I wrote a letter stating how much I loved my job and what I gained from it, also expressing how much more I wished to contribute. I guess I made a mistake and said I was pregnant. My letter was edited and done to perfection in a proffessional manner. The principal wrote the other 2 assistants letters both containing the same words. I am interested in the hourly special ed position at .......... next year. Please take me in consideration. I thought no way are they going to get picked with one sentence letters. I was wrong. The assistant with one poor was picked. I was pregnant and out of a job. I have always had an interest in working with infants and toddlers and pre school aged children, so thats why I am going to take the test.

Hi Dee

Welcome! What a story! Since you said that you're interested in infants/toddlers, have you considered finding work in Early Intervention services? I wish you all the best with your new child.


It is like this in any job. The people at the top feel they are better than the people earning less, but I am so happy, that God loves us all.Stand up for yourself away from the students, but if you do not clear the air,"some" will treat you and others like dirt. I feel peple who look down on others are just born evil. God loves all of us, and money and status does not save you. I have worked with some very mean, evil, selfish and vindictive people, and I have also worked with some kind, respectful, loving, and just fun people. God takes care of the evil ones in the end. It is all about the students, and if you do not love your students, and want the best for them, then you will pay in the end. I am speaking of "you" in the general.

wanting to change

I working on a change.. (MAYBE). I've been in this position for 10 years. IN-SCHOOL -SUSPENSION, TIME OUT, DETENTION, FILL IN UNTIL SUB-TEACHER ARRIVES, and any thing else my administer asks. I mean anything. I want out, i have been looking into paraprofessional tech. libarian. Our school will be merging with our high school within the year. Our main libarian will be retiring within two years. Our middle school libarian will be (hopely) moving up in
her position...I would like to try to move into a new position.

Anyway, How did you work into your position?

PLease help
Shirley, WV

Hello from Minnesota!

I'm a paraeducator who has worked with elementary students with special needs for 14 years. Time flies! Throughout the years, I've seen many changes in the job responsibilities and requirements. Our Local is constantly striving to find ways to not only make working conditions better, but to make us be better paras. I joined this forum to learn what other school districts are doing to support and train paraeducators. Jeanne

National Paraeducator Conference

Yes, Marilyn, I and several co-workers plan to be there! But we'd like more information about the Thursday evening reception. (Will there be food? How long will it last?)We've been unable to find detailed info about it on the website. And we need to plan time for the Mall of America, ya know! Jeanne

National Paraeducator Conference

I'm with you Jeanne. I too, will be at the conference. After a long day sitting in sessions and learning about issues and ideas, I'm ready for a nice evening, either shopping or socializing. Looking forward to a good time and lots of ideas. I attended some sessions at the Council for Exceptional Children's Conference. Great Sessions!!! I'm sure these will be equally informative.
Carla Lee Special Education Consultant Western Hills Area Education Agency 1520 Morningside Ave. Sioux City, IA 51106 712-274-6000 x 6322

Special Ed Para

:D Hi Everyone, my name in Penny Jo and I have been a Para for 10 years. I'm gathering information for our Para population in our district. We need training. Just want to see what is going on in your district. Just reading your posts have given me ideas and more insight. I am working with elementary children at present. They are sweet. I have done my time with middle school and high school. I love them all for different reasons. Sometimes I kick myself or not becoming a teacher. Do any of you do this? I want to do so much for these children. The more we know the more we can help them learn. I'm glad to meet you all.
Penny Jo Colorado

personal care services

Hi, my name is Ms. Layton

I work for a small rule country school in Oklahoma.
I was wondering if you have found any infomation on personal care services , and what I mean by this is, Feeding,Hygiene,Position safety. I have two aides that I work with and they have to complete these tasks on a daily basis. They also have to keep notes on all services that they complete. They don't mind the task, but the writing part is a time keeper. If you might have any info on how to write good notes , or have an explaination of how each task is to be completed, please let me know. Thank Ms Layton



Re: Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

HI Tech Guy! I'm confused????? My name is Liz from Minnesota. I attended the Para Conferece here in Mpls. It was GREAT!!! I believe you were the "TechGuy" who presented this site to us at the conference. Right? Well. please forgive me but, I fogot how to use and get set up with the cute little choices you can pick from by your name. When I saw this being presented I was very excited and still am once I can figure it out. I feel this is a geat tool for people in the special education field to communite with each other on many different topics and issuse. Along with sharing suggestions and situations we have all experenced. I would like to thank you and who ever else was involved in getting this started. Have a great day!!! And please, feel free to sent me any suggestions or tips on how to get set up.
TechGuy wrote:
:D Hello Everyone, My name is Christopher Phillips, right now I'm the forum administrator and wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I am currently a grad student at Utah State University in Instructional Technology, my undergrad was in special education and I taught for a year in a secondary setting and worked with a team of four of the best paraprofessionals in the world! Anyways, let me know if you have any questions/suggestions regarding this board and I'll do what I can to help you out! Thanks, Christopher Phillips webmaster@nrcpara.org P.S. I would also like to invite you to Post a Reply to the message and introduce yourself to the board- Thanks!

Posts by dates:

I love reading the older posts, but can you put all the latest posts at the top, and the older posts at the end, and all years together? Thanks.

2006.... etc. It is confusing with them being intermixed by years...

(Feature no longer

(Feature no longer available) Liz, I'm glad you found your way to the message board and that is a good question. I will refer you to an earlier post of mine in the Announcements section of the forum, you can access it by clicking here: Thanks! Christopher
Liz Johnson wrote:
HI Tech Guy! I'm confused????? My name is Liz from Minnesota. I attended the Para Conferece here in Mpls. It was GREAT!!! I believe you were the "TechGuy" who presented this site to us at the conference. Right? Well. please forgive me but, I fogot how to use and get set up with the cute little choices you can pick from by your name. When I saw this being presented I was very excited and still am once I can figure it out. I feel this is a geat tool for people in the special education field to communite with each other on many different topics and issuse. Along with sharing suggestions and situations we have all experenced. I would like to thank you and who ever else was involved in getting this started. Have a great day!!! And please, feel free to sent me any suggestions or tips on how to get set up. :?:


I have worked as a paraeducator for only 2 yrs. I work with a middle school student. I have taken the paraeducator generalist course, which was great and taught me alot about the job. I was just wanting to stop in and say hi!! :?

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

My name is Cathy. I'm a paraprofessional and work with Pre-K and PPCD children. I have worked with the school district for 8 years and in child care for 15 years. I will be 49 in 2 months. I would love to get my teaching certi. but at my age the road seems so long. I would like to talk to other paraprofessionals who are going to school or teachers who where paraprofessions first and get some advice on this long journey. I am planning on taking some college courses this fall and it's pretty frightening for some one who just celebrated being out of high school for 30 years. Thanks , Cathy in Texas

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hi. I am Maxine and I have been in the library for 18 years. In the state of Ohio, elementary library can be ran and maintained by a paraprofessional. I would like the word " support" more clearly defined. I have seen my job go from students using card catalog in the drawers to electronic card catalog. It is my job to teach the students how to use the electronic card catalog. I was wondering if the people who wrote esea talked to any paras? I doubt it, because if they had, they would have found a few interesting facts. Most paras are working under old job descriptions. Not only legislators, but central office personnel don't have a clue to what paras do. We are not opposed to more education. The problem seems to be that no one stopped to consider how it was going to be done and who is going to pay for it. Districts have the option of using title 1 funds to help foot the bill. Many districts, like mine, are opting not to use the funds, but to provide instruction prior to the test. I hope the test will reflect what we do. Thanks for allowing to express some of my concerns. Maxine

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

HOWDY DO :D I'm a pool paraprofessional from Rochester, New York. :D :) :o :lol: 8) I work with 5 P.E. teachers. I've been a paraprofessional for 20 plus years I've been Title 1 Math Paraprofessional, Office Support, Special Education and Teen Mothers Program. Presently: Certified Lifeguard & Rescue Responder Phy. Ed Support having a great time !!!!

brand new PE para

I'm a brand new PE para at a elem school in Ga. 16 years exp coaching youth sports, primary soccer. love this forum, great for ideas and general news about paras. also like the above post. I'm a former HS waterpolo player, check out nadopolo.com for one of the best youth programs in the country 8) 8) 8)

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hello, My name is Armando Tamayo. I am not a paraprofessional nor am I a paraeducator. Why am I here? Two reasons: My wife, of 27 years, is a library asst. for 20 of those years and for the past 7 years I have been elected union president for 3,000 classified professionals here in San Bernardino, Ca. Sometimes "we" full time employees have to remember that our work, although not directly in the classroom, library, resource room, pools, or instructing special needs children, is a great deal easier because of paraeducators, like my wife and you all. The district and the union are currently at the negotiations table. In California, there is a very large debt (20 billion +) and salary increases are not looking to hot. But the real issue is Federal Law H.R. 1 - No child left behind act (paraprofessionals left behind act), and the January 2006 deadline. Recently in California, the state legislature pasted Senate bill 1405 (O Connell). This legislation allows for California school district to "grandfather" paras if the "district" deems and certifies that paras meet the HR-1 law. BUT, districts in California don't want to do that, instead Human Resources departments are being told to add the new requirements and cut paras if they don't meet the new state law or the federal law. The new job requirements will also bring with them a higher salary base, but at the expense of losing qualified paras. Which means in the long run, more dollars to take home, but fewer people working with the childern or the teacher. I am also a member of the Ca. Sch Emp. Association's (www.CSEA.com)Statewide Legislative Committee. That Legislature, Jack O'Connell who authored SB 1405, was elected to be our State Superintendent of Public Instruction this year. So, that is way I am here: my wife (or she'd make me sleep on the coach) and those 1,500 approx. paraprofessionals who work so hard for so little pay with our childern.
Armando Tamayo Ca. School Emp. Association Chapter 183


Hello - :o I hope someone responds to this. I am seeking information into how one becomes a para. I've read the boards and seen all of the information about the No child left behind ruling. I have a degree in El. Education from a long time ago - but am not certified. I have only worked as a substitute in a state where I no longer live. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks,

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

:D Hi, I am Kathern from Louisiana. I have been a paraprofessional in Special Education, 9th-12th grade for 7 years. I love working with the students but I am still not sure as to what my job is. I am hoping that maybe this site can help me as far as nowing what my duties as a paraprofessional should be. I would like to know more about the laws involving special education students and what responsibilities we have in our working with them. I am really glad that I found this site. I believe that it is going to be helpfu and loads of fun to meet eveyone.

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hi! I'm from Longview, WA how It works here, is you need to go to the school district administration bldg. and talk to someone in Human Resources. You get all of the paper work and have to take a test to be put on the sub list and after you have your 30 days in as a sub you are eligable to apply for open positions. It is union so it go's by seniority. Now with the "No Child Left Behind" jobs with Title 1 funding require 2 years of college or AA degree. Hope this helps.

library assistant

I don't know if you still are on this forum. I work in an elementary school library in Illinois. I was looking for some info about educational requirements for assistants in different areas. Could you help out?

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

I am a Title I assistant in Tn.Has anyone taken the state test to meet the regulations of No Child Left Behind? I have worked for 27 years .Getting a 2 year degree seems futile to me . If I do that I would certainly continue to get the hours for a B.S.I am only concerned with the Math part of the test as I have only worked up to 6th grade Math in all the years I have worked.Any one with a thought out there or any info on how you feel the test is if you have taken it in Tn. Jane :?:

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Wow am I glad I found this site! Maybe here I can get some answers as to these new requirements. I have been a 1-1 para for four years in first and second grade most recently. Before that it was 3rd & 4th. Never higher. I've got some boning up to do!!
Marilyn's picture

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hello Wilma- Welcome to the Chat Room and our website. We are hoping that the website helps to keep people (paraeducators, principals, district administrators, teachers, etc) informed of key changes, issues, legislation and what states and/or districts are doing to support their paraeducators in meeting legislative requirements, accessing training, supervision. It's vital that paraeducators such as yourself stays proactive and informed! There are a lot ofanswers here if you take the time to explore and if you can't find them just e-mail myself, Teri Wallace, or our other staff. Our e-mails are on the home page. Good luck and look forward to seeing how things progress for you. Marilyn L.

Marilyn Likins
Director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Marilyn's picture

Wannabe a Paraed.

:D Hello- I apolgize for not getting a response to you about "becoming a paraeducator." You have the necessary qualification to get hired in Title 1. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that you meet one of three criteria: 1) an associate degree (which you have--when you got it does not matter), 2)2 years of training in higher ed (in Utah that is 48 semester hours, again when you took classes is not an issue), or 3) demonstrate knowledge and the ability to instruct in reading, writing, and math through a rigorous assessment. Every state is doing things differently on this one. In Utah we are using the PARApro test for "new" hires. Portfolios are the option for paraeducators who are already on the job. Hope this helps. Because you have an associates degree in elementary ed. just go into a district office and apply. They should be happy to see you! Good luck. Marilyn L.

Marilyn Likins
Director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Is there Financial Aid for a

Is there Financial Aid for a para with a BA Degree to go back to school and became a school Psychologist?

Thanks !

Marilyn's picture

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hello Paige, Welcome to our website. What are you doing now? What is your role where you work? Are you Title 1, 504, Special Ed, Alternative Language Services? Just wondering. Vermont has some great training opportunities for paraeducators. Check at your district or state office for more information. check out this website. http://www.uvm.edu/%7Ecdci/parasupport/ Marilyn L.

Marilyn Likins
Director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

hi, i'm new here. my name is pat and i work in wyandotte, michigan as a paraeducator. i've been a para since 1989. starting out as a sub at $4.00 an hr. i started fulltime in 1994 at $8.50 per hr. i've been there for 9 years, my pay has increased only $5.00. we are all concerned about the changes about to take place. no not until 2006 but it takes along time to get a degree especially if you've never been to collage at all. i have and have credits but will still take a while to get my degree. we just found out about this change about a month ago and of course everything is very unclear so everyone is getting very concerned. at this time my district has posted an application for a paraeducator requiring associates or certification. we are loosing some very good and compitent substitutes who want to become full time but because they only have a high school deploma they won't even be considered. :roll:
Marilyn's picture

NCLB and confusion at the state and local level

Hi Pat- :D Welcome to the NRCP Paraeducator Chatroom. Many paraeducators as well as their administrators remain confused and concerned about what the requirments are for NCLB...so know that you are in good company. The majority of states are still scrambling to come up with a sound plan for new hires (hired after Jan 8, 2002) as well as experienced paraeducators (hired before Jan 8, 2002). Which one are you? You must ask whether or not the NCLB law applies to you. Are you currently serving in a "school-wide Title 1" school? or is your position funded by Title 1. If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then you must comply with the requirements of NCLB. If you were hired before the law was enacted (1/8/02) then you have until 1/8/2006 to meet ONE of the following requirements. They include: --Completed at least 2 years of study at an institution of higher education; or --Obtained an associate?s (or higher) degree; or --Met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment - *Knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics; or *Knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness, as appropriate. For many paraeducators that are already on the job, the state and/or district may be requiring paraeducators to pass a test such as the PARApro or Work Keys. Other states are having paraeducators complete a portfolio that acknowledges previous university credits, yearly performance evaluations as well as documentation of inservice training or on-the-job performance. To find out, you must ask your local administrator and if they are not sure have them check with the Title 1 administrator at the State Level. Become informed. You are not required to have an associates degree to be a paraeducator. You have the options outlined above. Good luck. It's a great profession. Let me know what you find out. Marilyn

Marilyn Likins
Director, NRCP
6526 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-6526

Hi Marilyn, in order to spend

Hi Marilyn,

in order to spend time with my family I chose to work as a Title 1 Paraeducator in inclusion for middle school. My question is, is there a stipulation under the NCLB Program that covers paraeducators against descrimination among other school staff?

Reason for my question,  there are over 50 employees in my school; among them 7 paraprofessionals. One works in the computer literacy room, 2 in a self contained classroom and 4 i inclusion. Out of the seven, 3 of us (from the inclusion group) have been chosen to work with the clock till the end of the day without a break. The Self contained, as well as one of the inclusion paras get a luch break. Is there something wrong with this picture? At the end of the day, when is time to help the chidren with homework, there is no energy left in us to do our jobs right.

Please help!! Some of us are treated like hopeless slaves in our jobs.

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I was really happy to discover this site and will surely pass it on to the other paras in my district. I am currently a computer lab/library para. I am paid $8.47 an hour. I work with 4th and 5th grade students "instructing" them in different computer skills. I also handle library skills and do book checkout. I also carry a certification to dispense meds. This is not something I do on a regular basis, only in cases when the nurse is out of the district. I am also on the district's emergency response team. I am currently working on receiving my certification for the No Child Left Behind act. We were really lucky, as the local AEA offers the necessary courses to the district's current employees. I am interested to hear more information from other who might have the same job and learn what their pay and benefits package contains. We are currently negotiating and the School Board doesn't seem to feel that we would be too hard to replace. I think they'll be surprised, with the new legislation in place, how hard it will be to find someone who has the qualifications or dedication to get the certification.

Hello All...

This forum is the BEST :!: I'm looking forward to learning about other paras. I work in a Title 1 Special Ed program in an Elementary School for a small rural district in upstate NY. For 4 years, I worked as a 1:1 aide with a child with physical disabilities and developmental delays. Last year I was moved to my current position. I generally work in 3rd, 4th & 5th grade inclusion classrooms providing support to children with LD, ADD, ADHD & autism/asperger's/PDD. The principal, faculty & staff I work with are great. My beef stems from administration. The kids are like all kids everywhere- amazing & frustrating! And I love them all... :wink:



Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hello Everyone My name is Troy Damper. I am a Job Coach/Developer at Cortez High School in Phoenix Az. I look forward to reading all the posting and getting much needed information. If you are wondering what a Job Coach/Developer dose. Well what I do is handle transition services for students with disability in our High School. I teach employment skill, train students on job and run the transition program. I started out 17 years ago as a teacher aide in the program. I am presently going to school to become a Special Education Teacher. Because I was a aide for so long I feel is my duty to help other aides out wiith any information I can get my hands on. Again I look for to useing the web page. I hope everyone has a great day Troy

I love my job. Though not

I love my job. Though not financially encouraging, my greatest reward is seeing hope in the faces of once hopeless children. I love children and believe that if everyone can sacrifice a bit of their time to train a child right, our world would be much brighter.


Keep up the good work in the selfless way my fellow Paraeducators and you will feel rewarded by the results!! 

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hi, My name is Rebecca, I have been a para for 2 years now. The school that I work in is the one I graduated from. It is a small public school and I also worked as a sub for any grade and as a janitor for 4 years prior to being hired as a para. I have to admit when I worked as a janitor for 5 months I made more money than I do now. 8O ! I love my job and I wouldn't trade it. I have 2 small children that are in school there and I love the fact that I am off when they are and so on. Saves $ on daycare!! But, I feel that my job is way more valuable than what I get. I do the job of 3 people because we can't afford to hire more. It is frustrating, I make right at $10,000 a year and that is only because I keep the flex pay benefit. My kids and husband are Indian and they have free medical so I figure I can take the risk of no insurance on myself. I recently was hurt on the job and if wasn't for workman's comp I would be in serious debt. I don't think we as para's should have the stress we endure for the pay we get. I guess that is why we have to love our jobs to stay at them. :P I have to be certified and am very nervous about this . The school is paying for everything and working very hard to find the best way to do it, we are now researching the para assesment, thinking it might be the best way. I would love to do it online seeing that my family causes a conflict with going to college and studying alot. Is there anyone that can give me some advice on this subject? I am looking for some study references and other ideas that might help ! Thank you for your time and ears. Rebecca

hi my name is alireza from


my name is alireza from middle east. may i know what is your job now ?

Losing Para's

Hi, I am from Wyoming and within the last year a group of individuals from our state have formed a consortium for Paraeducators in Wyoming. My concern's are: 1. The lack of interest from para's. 2. The struggle, as with anything, to strike an interest in para's, teachers.... of the importance of our work, even though we do not have degrees 3. The fact that NRCP has this web site and the most recent entries are so outdated as far as people signing on. As a para that loves her job, I am insulted by the attitude of some of our professional staff. I have been told that if I wanted to make more money, I had the opportunity to get a degree which would have enabled me to make a better salary. What do you think of this type of attitude? How can we keep para's employed at the low rate of pay and expect them to continue to serve students......Enough rambling, back to topic, our consortium has been established one year, within that first year we have lost 4 members of our 10 member board. I realize there is going to be turnover, but the reason for some of our loss is Para's are seeking employment elsewhere. Where they are paid for their time reasonably. Is there a solution to the madness? The loss is with the students, some para's have been working years with students and yet experience counts for nada. I am trying to remain positive so please insight!!! What are other states, districts doing? Are you facing similiar problems? Waiting for replies :0)...

Losing Para's

Hi, I am from Wyoming and within the last year a group of individuals from our state have formed a consortium for Paraeducators in Wyoming. My concern's are: 1. The lack of interest from para's. 2. The struggle, as with anything, to strike an interest in para's, teachers.... of the importance of our work, even though we do not have degrees 3. The fact that NRCP has this web site and the most recent entries are so outdated as far as people signing on. As a para that loves her job, I am insulted by the attitude of some of our professional staff. I have been told that if I wanted to make more money, I had the opportunity to get a degree which would have enabled me to make a better salary. What do you think of this type of attitude? How can we keep para's employed at the low rate of pay and expect them to continue to serve students......Enough rambling, back to topic, our consortium has been established one year, within that first year we have lost 4 members of our 10 member board. I realize there is going to be turnover, but the reason for some of our loss is Para's are seeking employment elsewhere. Where they are paid for their time reasonably. Is there a solution to the madness? The loss is with the students, some para's have been working years with students and yet experience counts for nada. I am trying to remain positive so please insight!!! What are other states, districts doing? Are you facing similiar problems? Waiting for replies :0)...

I am a Para with a degree,

I am a Para with a degree, and there are many Paras with degrees. I am retired from the computer field, so I do not need the Para salary to live. I always off and on used my Para job to give the children one on one or small groups instruction. I must say the majority of the teachers are very respectful, but you always get one or two, who feel you are garbage under their feet. I feel the latter have mental problems, and I try to just ignore them, and on one occasion, I had to discuss it with the principals.
I do not want to spend my day giving test, and doing clerical work. I can 100% teach or tutor the students, while the teacher does the testing and the clerical work.
I do have a few teachers, who feel it is their day off, when I come to the classroom, and the principal addressed this after observing, that I was the only one teaching that day with my own materials, that supported the classroom lessons and the standards.
If you want more money, you have to take an extra job, which I did, when I was younger. The para salary has always been low, but I do not have the same responsibilities as a certified teacher, so I could work extra. I use to tutor privately in my home also, which can pay more than a para's salary, or you could do it just to help the parents and the students, as I did.
My advice to all teachers, and trust me they are reading here, is to treat the paras, like you want to be treated. Keep the communication open and exchange telephone numbers, so you can always clear the air. You cannot do this in front of the students, and sometimes there are "tensions." It is not what you say, but how you say it. RESPECT IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. DO NOT MISTREAT CHILDREN IN OUR PRESENCE. I HAD A TEACHER who would have a "meltdown," if the children asked for some of her snacks, that she had openly displayed. She kept saying over and over, that she could not afford to give six students snacks. (Special Education around 7-9 years young.) I got so sick of her complaining, that I brought snacks and after two days, I was told not to NEVER give her students anything, yet she ate my snacks and drinks also. lol She was a big GOSSIP about EVERYONE, including me. She was just CRAZY! When she went to the director on me, than I told what was happening in the room, for she went first. She tried to kiss my you know what after that, but I knew she was a snake, and the school year could not end soon enough for me. I smiled and just went into my "robot" mood for her, but I still loved helping the poor children that she was fussing with for not bringing snacks and anything else. SHE WITHHELD food from certain students, when she would share her snacks. It pained me....
The principal used me the last two days to do something for her, and this nutty teacher yelled at me, and said I knew that I SHOULD BE HELPING HER pack her stuff and moving it to her car. I told her to talk to the director, for I was working for the director. The students had gone home for the day, and the director needed the paras to help her for the next two FINAL days. She had a "meltdown" because I was not finishing the term with her, but I had been "cool" for so long, that once she yelled at me, there was NO WAY I was returning to her classroom. She stalked me the final two days, but I just ignored her, and turned my head, and said NOTHING. God help anyone she teaches and her future paras.


Hello everyone. I am an instructional aide in special education at a high school. I have been working as an aide for about 7 years now. It is a pleasure to meet all of you. I have some serious questions, especially when it comes to job description. I will post my questions soon. I also will have to give background information on the "snowball" that I am involved in with another co worker of mine. Any advice, experience, will be much appreciated.

hello from louisiana

Bonjour, my name is Chava! I am a newly hired paraeducator at an alternative school in Iberia parish of Louisiana. I look forward to having some interesting discussions and posting some thought invoking posts in the future! Thanks for finally developing a website for our profession :lol:

Seeking parapros to work with my child in Northern NJ

Hello, saw your posting and am interested in talking with you. You can email me at 456laura@optonline.net. We live in Bergen County and know people seeking paraprofessionals, and we ourselves are seeking a live-in personal aide for my in-school 8 year old.

Hello!- Introduce yourself here! (Click and post reply)

Hi all My name is Mary Jo Spicer. I am currently a Paraprofessional for the 4th grade in Arcadia, Florida. I work full time, plus I am attending college full time. I am set to graduate in early 2007 and I am studying to be a teacher. Email me anytime....MJ

Hi, I'm Josh Snider, and I

Hi, I'm Josh Snider, and I would like to find work as a para professional in the Bay Area, CA. I graduated from American U. in DC in 2003, and have been working in video production since then, but am wanting to switch over to education. At this point, any advice on how to secure a job would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Josh

Hi, My name is Cathleen, I am

Hi, My name is Cathleen, I am a Paraprofessional for a Learning Support Room in Pennsylvania. I need a few more hours to meet the 20 hours of Professional Development that the state of Pennsylvania requires. I have taken class on-line from the Thinkfinity website. By chance would anyone know of any other on-line sites that offer Professional Development courses?? Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.

Would attending a

Would attending a Paraprofessional Conference count as hours towards our required hours??

Hi Everyone!  My name is Toni

Hi Everyone!  My name is Toni and I've worked as a volunteer clasroom aide when my sons began school and 24+ yrs later Im a Paraprofessional II with elementary children! wkg. Now to answer your questions about the conference - up here in NH we are given a "Professional Growth Requirements for Paraeducators" which in the following;

Professionl growth is the aquisition of additional information or skills related to one's role as a  paraeducator.

Examples of Acceptable Professional Growth Activities;

1. workshops, conferences, seminars, syposia, in-service training, etc.

2. College courses.

3. Research - submit an outline, bibliography and an explanation of how the info. will be used in a classroom or curriculum.  Estimate ed. units spent in research.

4.Professional Reading; description of what you've learned and than same as #3

5. Writing Professional Article - submit a copy of the published areticle , or draft for publication and an esticmate of clock hours spent.

6. Travel  - description of the trip and several classroom activities resulting from your travel demonstrating how the activity would be used in the class.

7. Curriculum /Program Development - submit a copy of the curriculum, or unit of instruction, and an estimat of educational units spent in preparing it.  Include goals, objectives, 

    sample activities, and evaluation strategies.

8. Observation; submit a log of actual hours spent observing activities germane to your certification.  Observation time must be verified by staff member (s) observed.  The log

    should be accompanied by an explanation of what was learned and how it will be used.

Those not employed with the school system and wish to maintain their educational certification, may submit professional growth to the Bureau of Credentialing.  I hope this was of some assistance to you!  Sorry if I ran on and on but this is the protocol that Parapaprofessionals II in NH have been asked to follow in order to stay certified.


If I may be of any other assistance, please dont hesitate to email me!  I found this site purly by accident so I cant promise that I'll be on it in the too soon futrue! lol lol

take care and I'd love to chat with other paras from other states!  We could share ideas, concerns, and/or accomplishments!  Have a great holiday everyone! 


Hi. I would like to apply for

Hi. I would like to apply for a Parapro position in Mich. but it is only open to members of the Rochester Paraeducator Union. Can someone please explain how I would join this union? Thanks! Angela

Hi there, my name is Rafaela

Hi there, my name is Rafaela Torres. I am a Special Ed Teaching Assistant from grade 1st to 5th in Houston, TX. I work full time and have worked at the same school for 15 years. I really love my job and using technology with my students.smiley

Hi, I am a mother of 4, ages

Hi, I am a mother of 4, ages 16, 13.5, 12 and 8; a Paraprofessional-1:1 dedicated aide to a mostly non verbal fabulous young man (17 yrs old) with Autism, attending high school in Winchester Va.  My oldest (almost 17 yrs. old) is high functioning Autism/Aspergers; I went through the trenches-and hell- with our former school system, then we came out on the other side! I worked for almost 2 years as a care provider for a non-verbal girl who is severly impacted with Autism prior to this postion which gave me a great deal of experience.  I am fortunate enough to work in my son's high school, one that he loves.

I am a former para-legal and constant advocate for students with disabilities.  I want to advocate for our school system to provide in-service training for the TA's working with these students.  We get paid for in-service days, why can't we get some much needed training? 



Good for you to go on to get

Good for you to go on to get teacher licensure!   How wre you able to go to school fulltime and work fulltime in the education field?