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Para Post: A Newsletter for Wisconsin Paraprofessionals

Para Post logo

You probably already know about our newsletter, but there are also a number of other excellent newsletters that focus on paraprofessional issues. As a new feature, we will be sharing with you some of the content in paraeducator newsletters around the country.

First up is the Para Post from the State of Wisconsin Paraprofessional Website. Here is a look at the three issues they published during the last school year:

  • The Spring 2008 Issue has some great advice on dealing with behavior problems in class, including an articles on monitoring and recording behavior, aggression, and the ABC's of behavior.
  • The focus of the Winter 2008 Issue is Diversity and includes information on insensitive behavior and supporting ESL students and minority groups.
  • The Fall 2007 Issue includes some helpful tips as you begin the school year and includes a chart with information on what paraeducators may and may not do.

In addition to the articles noted above, each issue also contains links to helpful resources and a "Healthy You Corner" with tips and advice on taking care of yourself.

We are looking forward to new editions of the Para Post for the 2008-2009 school year. If you know of a paraprofessional newsletter, please let us know about it in the comments- thanks!

2009 National Conference in Salt Lake City

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:

Words of Wisdom from Anna Lou Pickett

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!

Dalton Sherman- I Believe in Me, Do You Believe in Me?

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.

Additional Links:

Teacher Assistant Nominated for State Award

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

Speech from the Educational Support Professional of the Year in Iowa

A video on YouTube of Sheryl Traetow, a paraeducator at Hansen Elementary School in Cedar Falls, Iowa accepting the Education Support Professional of the Year Award from the Iowa State Education Association.

More Conference Presentations

Here are three more presentations from our recent National Conference:

Paraprofessionals Fueling Change

Dr. Ashleigh Molloy

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!

NRCP Website- What is Available, Where we are Going and How it Can Help You Presentation

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!

Pictures from the 2008 National Conference

The first batch of pictures from the 2008 National Conference in Hartford, CT are now available.

Updated More pictures added Friday, April 18th

Look for more to be added in the coming days!

View and comment on the pictures here

Para Educator of the Year by the National Association for Bilingual Education

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.

Bilingual group honors SMCC student

Congratulations to Vermont-NEA Education Support Professional of the Year!

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.

Congratulations to Moretown paraeducator

Congressman "Walks a Day in My 'Para' Shoes"

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!

Joe Courtney "Walks a Day in My 'Para' Shoes"- Paraeducators Closing the Gap

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Michelle Auger is the Paraprofessional of the Year at Richmond Hill Elementary School

Michelle Auger

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."

Visit this news article for pictures and video of the event.

Meet Jean, a Paraprofessional

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:

Conference Prize Winner Number Three!

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!

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