QUESTIONS REGARDING PARAEDUCATORS
1. Who does what to
hire a paraeducator?
The answer to this question varies by building and district. Ask
questions to find out how your building principal/superintendent
wants to handle the process in the district.
Ideally the hiring process is a joint venture between administration
and the HPEC teacher. In some districts the complete process
is handled through the superintendent’s office. In others,
the process is handled through the principal’s office. In
others, the special education teacher is primarily responsible
with the principal involved before the final decision is made.
Advertising is usually handled by the principal or superintendent’s
office. HPEC follows local district policy and practices on
advertising open positions. If a teacher needs the HPEC Central
Office to place the ad, we are happy to help. Call Meri.
Reference checks need to be done at the local level. This
means a local district administrator or the teacher should check
references before offering the position.
Once the decision is made at the local level about who to hire,
the HPEC Central Office is notified. Meri and Chrissie will
help assure all paperwork is completed. Call anytime you have questions! The
employment paperwork is available on the HPEC website, www.highplainsed.com.
2. What should we ask and NOT ask during the interview?
You want to ask questions that help you determine who will be
the best person for the position you have. At the same time,
you want to ask questions that will help the applicant understand
some of the job expectations. Sample questions are attached. By
law, you can not ask questions about age, marital status, family
circumstances (how many children, pregnant, live with spouse,
etc.) stick with questions pertinent to the job.
3. How much will a paraeducator be paid?
The paraeducator salary schedule is the basis for paraeducator’s
wages. We give year-for-year credit for other aide/paraeducator
experience. We count hours on college transcripts and credit
is given for all classes considered pertinent to the paraeducator
position. Anyone with an education degree will be placed on the
last column of the salary schedule. Routinely, we do not give
credit for physical education classes and most religious classes. We
give credit for documented staff development activities for other
jobs. It usually is a good idea to share the salary schedule
with the applicant and let them know we will review their transcripts. Some
teachers/principals fax transcripts so they can tell the applicant
what the exact pay will be before the person agrees to take
Staff Development and Training
4. How do I find time
to train paraeducators during the year?
To help the paraeducator understand job responsibilities and
how to work with students, many teachers have the paraeducator
observe for a while. So the new paraeducator and teacher can have some
time to talk, you may have to double up services for some students. Finding
the time to train a paraeducator is the only way to assure students
get the long-term quality services they need.
5. Whose responsibility is it to assure
paraeducators get the required number of staff development hours?
The paraeducator and the teacher are both responsible.
6. What options are there for paraeducators
to get their staff development hours?
There’s a list of staff development options in the Parareducator
Handbook. Paraeducators should have a two-hour orientation
session dealing with job responsibilities, confidentiality, professionalism,
building and classroom expectations, review of the Paraeducator
Handbook, etc. Staff development provided by you or other HPEC staff
about a topic always is an option for staff development. Staff development
provided by districts, HPEC, and others in the area is usually available
to paraeducators. Videos and discussion about them are
7. What resources are available?
Many local districts have videos available
for staff development. The
HPEC media center has quite an extensive collection. To get
maximum benefit from videos, teachers will want to provide discussion
and help paraeducators make connections between services to
students and the information in the video. Call Ellen to get
information about available videos. The Infinitec website provides
training modules for inservice hours. This may be accessed
your supervisors permission.
There should be paraeducator manuals with each interrelated
teacher inventory. All of these manuals have identified activities
to support their study and document staff development hours. A
few years ago, ECSE teachers developed a training manual for EC
paraeducators. SLPs have common information for paraeducator
8. Who can help provide staff development?
Any professional or paraeducator who has the knowledge can provide
the training. For example, it is not uncommon for the speech
pathologist to provide general training about language stimulation;
the physical therapist or motor specialist about lifting and transfers;
the occupational therapist about hand muscle development; the
interrelated teacher about guided reading, Duolog Reading, behavior
management; the school psychologist about behavior management,
social-emotional development, etc.
9. How do you determine how many hours
a paraeducator needs?
A paraeducator who works August through May needs 20 hours of
level 1 staff development every year, regardless if she works
full time or part time. For any month in which the paraeducator
works, 2 hours of staff development must be earned and documented.
10. We wrote a Staff Development Plan
at the beginning of the year but we’ve made changes. Do
we have to send those changes to the HPEC Central Office?
Yes. Please send your Staff Development Plan within 30 days
of employment ( or at the beginning of employment for after August
hires) and quarterly. If a paraeducator notifies you she is
quitting, immediately determine if staff development hours are complete. Please
be sure to send Staff Development Plan at that time.
11. How do we report staff development
hours to the HPEC Central Office?
Please plan to send in documented staff development activities
quarterly. We need ALL information no later than May 15. Teachers
and paraeducators will receive staff development reports from the
HPEC Central Office 3 times during the year or every nine (9) weeks. You
may call and check staff development hours with Meri.
Summer staff development activities completed after May 15 th
should be included in your 1 st Staff Development Plan of the
school year. Summer staff development points will be counted for the
next school year for continued employment. College hours
documented through an official transcript prior to September
1 st may be used for salary movement.
12. I want my paraeducator
to help with paperwork and data collection. Can she?
Yes. The majority of a paraeducator’s job must be instructional,
which includes data collection. The paraeducator can help file,
copy paperwork, help prepare for a staffing by collecting and completing
routine information on the forms, help with the calls to set up
staffings, etc. The professional is responsible for determining
how best to utilize the support of a paraeducator.
13. Is it okay for the professional to
spend all of their time working on paperwork and having the paraeducator
provide all of the student services?
No. Although there will be times the professional must work
on paperwork while the paraeducator provides services, we believe
the professional should be working directly with students at
least 65% of the time.
14. Is it okay for one student to receive
all of his services from paraeducators?
No. The professional should rotate the services she provides
so she is providing services to all students regularly. If
a student receives all of his services in the regular classroom,
the professional may be less involved with that student as long
as the student is making adequate progress. The special
education teacher should be in regular communication with the
15. One paraeducator misses a lot of
school. What should I do?
Discuss the concern with the paraeducator. If
improvement is not noted, an evaluation should be completed and
concerns documented. A plan of assistance may be needed
to help the paraeducator understand the importance of being
16. Is it the teacher’s responsibility
to assure timesheets are correct?
Yes. Any discrepancies should be discussed with the paraeducator. If
agreement can not be reached, the supervising teacher should not
sign the timesheet. The teacher should assure all leave
days are accurately recorded and leave forms submitted.
17 . A paraeducator has told me she is
quitting. What should I do?
First, ask for a letter of resignation stating the reason for
resigning and last day of work. Send the letter and any
outstanding staff development documentation to the HPEC Central
To replace the paraeducator, follow the procedures in
your building (see the question under hiring).
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What experiences have you had working with children/students
2. If a child is misbehaving, what do you do?
3. We work with some children who work very hard to learn tasks
that are easy for others to learn. How will you help this child
4. Confidentiality is VERY important in this position. What
would you do if someone asked you about one of the students with
which you work?
5. Sometimes I will ask you to do an activity one way and you
think it would work better another way. What will you do?
6. This is a paraeducator job description. Is there anything
on here you can not do?
7. As you can see from the job description, diapering and lifting
may be involved. Are you willing and able to do these things?
8. It is important that most all parent communications be between
the teacher and the parent. What would you do if a parent asked
you a question about their child or another child in the program?
9. Tell me about a disagreement you have had with another supervisor
and how did you handle it?
10. You will be working with several professionals in helping
provide services to some children/students. Each will want you to
carryout plans as they ask. Tell me about a similar experience
you have had.
11. When I call references, what will they tell me about you? Your
work habits? Your reliability?
12. If you were in the situation where you knew a co-worker wasn’t
doing the job as the supervisor expects, what would you do?
13. We work with students who have various levels of ability. Which
students are you the most comfortable working with? Which would
you not want to work with? (The answer should be I’ll work
with them all, some may qualify by mentioning comfort level or need
for training but be wary of the person who identifies a population
they don’t think they could work with)
14. I have __ other paraeducators. How will you handle conflicts
with one of them?
15. When you were in school there was probably a student that
couldn’t do the work as well as other students. How do
you think the teachers should have graded him?