Ashbaker & Morgan: Supervising Paras

Text:  Teacher’s Guide to Working with Para Educators

Sergiovanni & Starrat (1993):  Face-to-face contact with teachers with the intent of improving instruction and icnreasing professional grwoth. When used correctly, can create powerful results in improving instruction.  This is Instructional Supervision.

Trautman (2005)
“managing” rather than supervising.

The supervisor’s responsibilities include:
  1. Create a list of duties and responsibilities
  2. Develop a schedule
  3. Plan the activities
  4. Prepare for the absences
  5. Conduct meetings on a regular basis
  6. Evaluate the work of the paraprofessional
  7. Teaching paraprofessionals what they are supposed to be doing

A paraprofessional words under the direct supervision of a teacher if:
  1. the teacher prpares the lessons and plans the instructional support activities the paraprofessional carries out, and evaluates the achievement of the students.
  2. the paraprofessional works in a close frequent proximity with the teacher.
Types of programs not permitted under NCLB:
  1. Staffed entirely by paras
  2. paras provide instruction support, teacher visits once or twice a week
  3. Para works with a group of students in another location (not close and frequent proximity)
Effective Instructional Supervision:
  1. Prerequisite Skills
  2. Present New Content
  3. Guided Practice
  4. Independent Practice
  5. Review

The above concepts are vital for the paraprofessionals to understand before they begin working in the classrooms.  Typically these elements are the work of the teacher but it needs to be transferred over to the paras.  Give explicit directions just as the teacher gives them to the students. The concepts that are being taught to the students need to be taught to the paraprofessionals.  

Teachers must raise the profession.  

Effective Classroom Practice:
  1. Initial assessment for planning teaching content
  2. Varied teaching styles to better suit all learns’ needs
  3. Differentiated curriculum 

Formative Supervision:
  1. Knowing what the paras already can do and figuring out where to go next
  2. We supervise them in order to provide them with the professional development that they need

Training Paraprofessional:  8 Essential Questions  (Morgan & Hofmeister, 1997)
  1. Does the training address confidentiality and other sensitive issues? (teacher)
  2. Does training content relate directly to the skills required by the paraprofessional in her assigned role? (t)
  3. Does the training provide quick integration into instructional roles? (t)
  4. Does the training offer facilitation through progressively complex assignments? (t)
  5. Is the training linked to current staff evaluation procedures? (administrators)
  6. Will this training reduce staff turnover? (a)
  7. Does this training integrate with and support the total staff development process? (a)
  8. Does the training reduce legal vulnerability? (a)
**Wisconsin, Minnesota, California have more structured procedures for the paraprofessionals.

Teachers Should:
  1. Share with the paras the restriction of duties that should be placed on your paraprofessionals.
  2. Document how you are supervising.
  3. Document para training that you do.

Resources: (Utah state office of education)
  • Utah Paraeducator handbook
  • Matrix for Para-educators and teacher teams
  • Selfevaluation checklist for teachers

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