In case you missed our last newsletter, the 2009 National Conference for Paraprofessionals will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah from April 30th to May 2nd. More details are available on the conference page including:
We have a number of videos from the 2008 National Conference that we will be sharing in the next few weeks. To begin with, here is a short 2-minute clip of Ann Lou Pickett, the founder of the National Resources Center for Paraprofessionals. Anna Lou shares how she became interested in paraprofesssionals, some of the early lessons she learned and the important roles that teachers and paraprofessionals play in the classroom. Enjoy!
This is an outstanding video to watch as you begin the school year:
From Dalton Sherman:
There's probably easier ways to make a living, but I want to tell you, on behalf of all of the students in Dallas, we need you. We need you now more than ever.
From Ocala, Florida, a well done article on Katrina Lamar, a 24-year veteran teacher assistant who was selected as Marion County's School-Related Person of the Year. From Superintendent of Schools Jim Yancey:
"In addition to her family and professional commitments, and as a breast cancer survivor, she helps counsel others facing difficult times with this disease and the uncertainties of the future."
First-grade teacher Cecilia Raid wrote:
"In short, Mrs. Lamar makes our lives easier and happier here at Reddick-Collier by just being her wonderful caring self... We couldn't do it without her, and we don't want to try."
Read the rest of the article here: Teacher assistant nominated for state award
Here are three more presentations from our recent National Conference:
Paraprofessionals Fueling Change
Building Foundations for Para-professionalism
Ann Birch, Dr. Jill Morgan
Paraprofessionals As Certified Educators
Pamela O. Brucker, Southern Connecticut State University and Dana Corriveau, Connecticut State Department of Education
Look for a page with all of the conference presentations coming soon!
Here is another presentation from today- this one goes through each of the sections of our website and gives a little bit of insight into some of the projects we are planning on working on in the coming months. Enjoy!
As a result of a discussion with the group, my next big project on the website will be building a "Newsletter Hub", gathering newsletters from different states and organizations and highlighting content. Look for it in the next couple of months and if you know of a newsletter that deals with paraprofessional issues, please let us know!
Whether her students call her "schoolteacher" or "maestra de escuela," Josie Guillen will be ready with all the answers to their questions - in either language.
Congratulations to Jose Guillen from South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona who was recently named the Para Educator of the Year by the National Association for Bilingual Education.
In the article, Guillen states:
It was hard learning to juggle my responsibilities as a teacher, mother and student, but I was truly blessed to have such encouragement and support from my husband, family and friends," she says.
Here is a little bit about Becky Auger from the article:
"Becky represents the professionalism and dedication that all educators demonstrate daily in our state's excellent public schools," said Vermont-NEA President Angelo Dorta. "I and the members of Vermont-NEA are extremely proud of her achievement."
Auger is one of three paraeducators who lead the school's literacy program, which began in 2006.
She also heads two major school projects that help foster a sense of community at Moretown – she catalogs photographs of students as they grow up and she directs the school's annual field day.
In Connecticut, Congressman Joe Courtney spent the day with paras "in Mansfield Public Schools to raise awareness of the job responsibilities and expectations of Connecticut's paraeducators." You can read all about his experiences on this page, including links to newspaper articles, the press release and radio coverage.
Looks like a great way to promote the good work that paraeducators do!
Michelle Auger was recently awarded the Paraprofessional of the Year award at Richmond Hill Elementary School, an award voted on by her peers. Her husband Tim said this about her:
"I think she really deserves this," he said. "I know, on the home front, we couldn’t run the household without her. She loves her job. She has several different degrees out of college and she could pretty much go out and do a lot of different things if she wanted to, but she enjoys working here with the kids and the fellow professionals here at RHES. She’s always wanted to give back to the community more than doing something for herself, and that’s her way of doing it. She enjoys her place and she tells me it’s worthwhile and rewarding to her."
Northwestern University has put a number of videos on YouTube about students who are taking their online classes. One of the videos is about Jean who is a paraprofessional for a special needs preschool program. She discusses her work as a paraprofessional and her family life. While the video may be an advertisement for the University, it offers a good perspective into the busy life of paraprofessionals. See video below:
We have another conference prize winner, William C. Soltys of Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois has chosen the $50 gift certificate to Black Eyed Sallys Restaurant to use during the conference. Congratulations William! I asked William to tell us a little about himself:
I am in my 7th year as a Para-educator at Lyons Township High School in Illinois. I work with special education students as a one-on-one in regular ed classes. I enjoy working with students and watching them excel. I am also the co-president of our local Association. This is a second career for me having retired in 2001 from a career in Hospital Administration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am looking forward to attending the conference and bringing back valuable information to share with my colleagues.
Don't forget that there are two more prizes and we will give both of them to the next winner- a product from the NRCP Paraeducator Merchandise Store and one of our Training Manuals. We will select the next winner by the middle of next week, so get your registration in right away!"
More than 40 instructional aides from schools across Henrico County attended last night's public hearing on the district's proposed 2008-09 budget.
Their message was clear: Instructional aides should make at least half the salary of teachers.
One parent from the school district understands the importance of paraprofessionals:
Caroline Nelson, a Henrico parent, called these workers "the silent cog . . . that keeps the educational system moving forward."
Fortunately, the School Board was able to understand the importance of paraprofessionals as well:
(The School Boards) identified a two-step increase for full-time aides as a priority in the budget.
That increase would give the county's 363 full-time instructional aides, almost all of whom work in exceptional education, a nearly 9 percent pay raise.