SAVE THE DATE: Paraeducator Symposium November 16, 2017!

The Second Annual Paraeducator Development and Leadership Symposium supporting social and emotional learning will be held Thursday, November 16, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. For detailed information related to this important event, please view this symposium announcement: Paraeducator Symposium 17-18 Announcement.

Paraeducator Needs Assessment Results

Earlier this school year, the University of Connecticut (UCONN) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) conducted an online statewide survey of paraeducators’ training needs. This survey was based on the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC’s) Special Education Paraeducator Common Core Specialty Set (SEPCCSS). SEPCCSS contains 10 professional development guidelines and specific knowledge and skills that paraeducators working with children with disabilities should possess.

Participants were asked to rate their perceptions of their knowledge and skills within each of the SEPCCSS domains: Foundations; Development and Characteristics of Learners; Individual Learning Differences; Instructional Strategies; Learning Environments and Social Interactions; Language; Instructional Planning; Assessment; Professional and Ethical Practice; and Collaboration. In addition, participants were asked one open-ended question concerning the specific topics on which they desired additional training.

Responses were received from 2,438 paraeducators working in public schools in Connecticut. Information about the sample of paraeducators responding to the survey and the students they support is shown below:

  • The sample provided services to students across the PK-12 system, though more paraeducators appear to work in elementary school (1- 4; 31 percent) versus middle (7-8; 13 percent) or high school (9-12; 14 percent).
  • The majority of paraeducators working for greater than 10 years (54 percent) did not have a bachelor’s degree (59 percent) and were not certified as teachers (91 percent).
  • Paraeducators primarily provided services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receiving special education services (85 percent). However, fewer paraeducators had read the relevant pieces of their students’ IEPs (71 percent) or had their roles and responsibilities as mandated by the IEP explained to them (67 percent).
  • Twenty percent of the paraeducators reported not receiving any training in the previous 12 months; of those who reported receiving training, there was considerable variation in the number of training hours reported. Paraeducators also indicated a preference for small group/one-day workshops (51 percent) that were held during school hours (79 percent). Responses also indicated their desire for training on the following topics: specific disabilities, behavior management, technology, general education, language and communication, medical needs of students and the special education process.For additional results from the needs assessment, please visit the UCEDD Web site at: www.uconnucedd.org.

School Paraprofessional Advisory Council Update

The School Paraprofessional Advisory Council (SPAC) had its last meeting of the school year on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.  During this meeting, the Council adopted the vision and mission statements that follow.

Vision Statement: Equity, Collaboration, COMMITMENT.

Mission Statement: Gather resources, examine data, investigate and study issues, provide guidance and professional learning opportunities, and maximize results using current relevant tools and strategies.

For additional information regarding the Council, including membership list and past meeting notes, please visit the Connecticut State Department of Education Paraeducator Information and Resources page at www.ct.gov/sde/para-cali .

2015 Paraeducator of the Year Program

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council have established the Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Program, to recognize the important role of the paraeducator in supporting student achievement.  Superintendents and school district administrators are invited to nominate one paraeducator who has demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of his/her job.  Identification of the 2015 paraeducator of the year will be made at a ceremony held on November 6, 2014. The 2015 paraeducator will serve for the 2015 calendar year. In addition, each district paraeducator nominated for the 2015 paraeducator of the year award, will be individually recognized at the November ceremony.

The 2015 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year application packets must be received by the CSDE no later than June 6, 2014.  To review the full application packet with comprehensive instructions, please visit: www.ct.gov/sde/para-cali.

You Can Search Topics from Past Bureau Bulletins, Bureau Blogs and Bureau Updates!

The Bureau of Special Education currently offers several resources to assist you in searching for topics discussed in past Bureau Bulletin articles, Bureau Blogs and Bureau Updates.

For topics appearing in articles from Fall 2011 through the present, please use the search feature located at the top of the current Bureau Bulletin home page: https://ctspecialednews.org/

For topics appearing in articles from Spring 2010 through Fall 2011, please use the following directory which will bring you to the edition of the bulletin in which an article with your topic appears: Bureau Bulletin Article Directory Spring 2010-Fall 2011

For topics in articles from Summer 2008 through Spring 2010, please use the following directory which, again, will bring you to the edition of the bulletin in which an article with your topic appears: Bureau Bulletin Article Directory Summer 2008-Spring 2010

You may also access past editions of Bureau Blogs and Bureau Updates from September 1996 up to Summer 2008 through the Bureau of Special Education Web page: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&q=320720

It is our hope to bring each of these resources together under one easily searchable index in the future. In the meantime, we hope these resources will assist you in your research. For questions related to this article, please contact Jay Brown at 860-713-6918 or jay.brown@ct.gov.