Paraprofessionals

Explainer

Who Are Paraprofessionals and What Do They Do?
Paraprofessionals are a vital part of the classroom team with a wide range of responsibilities and skills.
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Image of an empty desk.
Laura Baker/Education Week and Dmitry Kovalchuk/iStock/Getty
Staffing Our Schools Special Report Why Staffing Schools Is Harder Than Ever
Why schools are struggling to recruit and retain staff and how it affects student learning.
June 15, 2022
Angela Alfaro, a paraprofessional at Pascual LeDoux Academy, works on counting with a student on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at Pascual LeDoux Academy in Denver.
Angela Alfaro, a paraprofessional, works on counting with a student at Pascual LeDoux Academy in Denver.
Rachel Woolf for Education Week
Recruitment & Retention From Our Research Center Paraprofessionals: As the 'Backbones' of the Classroom, They Get Low Pay, Little Support
They are critical to student learning and well-being, but often find better pay and benefits in other fields.
Madeline Will, June 15, 2022
10 min read
Education Districts Lay Off Thousands of Paraprofessionals as Students Switch to Remote Learning
With looming budget cuts and no clear need for teacher aides, administrators are gutting their paraprofessional staff, a move that could have long-term academic consequences.
Daarel Burnette II, August 25, 2020
3 min read
Teaching Opinion 'Teachers & Aides Need to Work as a Team'
Three educators share advice on working with instructional aides/paraprofessionals, including having a "team" mindset and demonstrating empathy.
Larry Ferlazzo, July 7, 2020
9 min read
Teaching Opinion A 'Communication, Action, Reflection' Cycle Makes a Teacher-Paraprofessional Relationship Work
Three educators share ideas on how to make a teacher-paraprofessional relationship work, including through constant communication, planning, and reflection.
Larry Ferlazzo, July 6, 2020
9 min read
Teaching Opinion Tips for Working With Classroom Aides
Four educators share tips on how teachers and paraprofessionals can work effectively together, including by maintaining regular daily communication and providing professional-development opportunities.
Larry Ferlazzo, July 5, 2020
13 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Courtesy of the Garcia family
Teaching Profession Paraprofessional With 'Gentle Spirit' Dies at 27 From COVID-19
A former high school athletic standout and homecoming king, Pedro Garcia III “could connect with anybody,” no matter the language, said a teaching colleague in Cozad, Neb.
Corey Mitchell, May 20, 2020
5 min read
Brooke Barnett, a secretary at Jackson Elementary School in Norman, Okla., and her 12-year-old daughter, Murphy Barnett, protest at the Oklahoma State Capitol in April during the statewide teacher walkout.
Brooke Barnett, a secretary at Jackson Elementary School in Norman, Okla., and her 12-year-old daughter, Murphy Barnett, protest at the Oklahoma State Capitol in April during the statewide teacher walkout.
Courtesy of Brooke Barnett
Teaching Profession When Strikes Happen, Teachers' Aides Have the Most to Lose
School support staff members, including paraprofessionals, can go unpaid when schools are closed—meaning they had more at risk during statewide walkouts than full-time teachers.
Madeline Will, May 29, 2018
7 min read
Teaching Profession Washington State Taps Paraeducators to Fill Special Education Teacher Shortage
A new law creates a streamlined path for instructional aides, who already have deep experience working with students with disabilities, to gain teaching credentials.
Christina A. Samuels, August 22, 2017
1 min read
Equity & Diversity Bilingual School Staff Who Want to Teach Face Bureaucratic, Financial Barriers
With the demand for bilingual educators on the rise, a new report explores the kinds of hurdles that make it difficult for multilingual classroom aides to make the transition to becoming teachers.
Corey Mitchell, January 24, 2017
2 min read
Teaching Profession Report Roundup Paraprofessionals
Teaching assistants significantly contribute to student achievement, particularly in disadvantaged schools, according to a new study presented this month at the annual conference of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
Sarah D. Sparks, March 15, 2016
1 min read
Teaching Profession Colleges Seek Out Future Special Ed. Teachers
Through new offerings and partnerships, education schools are looking for ways to bring more prospective candidates into the field.
Christina A. Samuels, January 25, 2016
6 min read
Paraprofessional Stefanie Trotter uses flashcards of words and objects with 7th grader Jack Robinson, 13, while certified teacher Sam Gutierrez works with other students, right, in a special education classroom at Siloam Springs Middle School in Siloam Springs, Ark.
Paraprofessional Stefanie Trotter uses flashcards of words and objects with 7th grader Jack Robinson, 13, while certified teacher Sam Gutierrez works with other students, right, in a special education classroom at Siloam Springs Middle School in Siloam Springs, Ark.
Shane Bevel for Education Week
Teaching Profession Training Gains a Toehold for Instructional Aides in Special Education
Crucial for assuring that school inclusion takes place for students with disabilities, these workers have long been left out of the loop on professional development.
Christina A. Samuels, October 6, 2015
6 min read