Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Paraprofessional Support +free handbook

Our school year with students was supposed to start on Sept. 9th, instead we went on strike. I was super busy as a Zone and picket captain, and this blog kind of fell by the wayside. However, we are now done with the strike and school started last Thursday the 17th. I was supposed to blog today about changing schedules, but I am not quite ready to do that yet since my school year start has been so chaotic, not just because of the strike, but because my students have been very challenging. We haven't even been able to institute the schedule I put together, much less change it.

This is where my Paras come in. In addition to the sudden end to the strike and school starting, my son got married this past weekend in Oregon, so I took the 2nd and 3rd day of school off. My school procured two subs for me, and I made my Paras responsible for what was happening during the day.

Since it was a planned absence, we were able to talk about it ahead of time. Also, since I had been there the first day, I at least had an idea of my students and their needs and was able to plan a loose schedule for the days I would be gone. It went ok and everyone survived.

I have 9 students this year, and 2 of them have one-to-ones. But I got 3 new additions to my classroom that need one-to-ones (aggression, running, clearing counters and tables, refusal, collapsing, stealing food, etc), plus 1 with mobility issues, and 3 that need a lot of support in  everything they do. 

I thank the lord for my Paras and wish I could clone them. We have had to grow very close, very quickly, in order to get through the day. Communication is vital, as is knowing how  and what to do. I have set up a schedule for the IAs so they know who they are working with each period, as well as what they are doing. I try to rotate my Paras with the students as I don't want them to burn out. I try to make sure they take their breaks for the same reason. I am up front with my expectations at the start of the school year, and give them a handbook, any safety plans, all the IEP at a glances, Behavior Support Plans, the student schedule, the adult schedule, and anything else I feel will help us all be on the same page. I stagger their breaks so no one is overwhelmed in the classroom. I assign stations so that there are fun learning activities for them to do with all of the students. I try to set them up for success, and then trust them to be the professionals they are. I couldn't do my job without them and I am so grateful for their assistance every day.

This is the Paraprofessional  Handbook (In my current district we call Paras Instructional Assistants) I put together for my Paras a couple of years ago. I borrowed liberally from many people online and threw it together. I list my expectations, and some information regarding Autism. I have a few other handouts at the end that deals with other disabilities. I hope this works for you as well.

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