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					Effective Use
 of Teacher
  Assistants
A Module for Policy
   & Practice
  Development
              Purpose
• Provide information on basic
  requirements & effective practice for use
  of teacher assistants(TAs) in educational
  settings (school & community-based);
• Provide a framework & materials for
  training &/or supporting district or school-
  based teams in development of policy &
  practice for effective TA use;
• Familiarize user with resources on TA
  website.
      Module Sections
• How to Use this Module
• Research re: Teacher Assistants (TAs)
• Legal Requirements re: TAs & Other Paras
• Instructional Team Model
• Job Descriptions For TAs
• Considerations For Assigning TAs
• Orientation Of TAs
• PD For Instructional Team Members
• Supervision Of TAs
• Performance Evaluation Of TAs
+ Orientation Exercise
+ Guided Discussion Format
+ Bibliography
How to Use this Module
•Module & related resources on TA
 website - www.ritap.org/ta
•Module Section Organization
  Applicable Legal Requirements &
   Guidelines
  Implementation Strategies from
   Literature & RI Districts/Agencies
  Resources on/through TA website
•Use as a whole or in sections
•Use as auto-instructional resource
•Use in training
           Research:
 Nat’l Study on Effective TA Use
• Role - Primarily instructional support

• 85% - 90% involved in instructional activities
   – Tutoring students/groups
   – Gathering data
   – Preparing materials
   – Meeting with teachers
   – Implementing Behavior Management
     Plans
                Research:
    Nat’l Research on Effective TA Use
TA Supports Integral to Quality Education
• Job Orientation
• Ongoing PD for TAs & teachers working with them
• TA supervision
• Role alignment with TA skills
• Role clarification via meaningful job descriptions
• TA performance evaluation
• Adequate planning time/communication strategies
  for instructional teams
• TA assignment based on student need & in way to
  promote achievement, independence & inclusion
    Research: Rhode Island Study
          Since 2003, annual RIDE survey -
              Respondents - TA Contacts
   Human Resources
   Pupil Personnel/Special Education
   Superintendent/Asst. Superintendent
   Finance/Business Manager
   Asst. Dir., NW Special Ed. Collaborative
   Various Others

TA Contacts Listing on Website - Networking Webpage
 Research: Rhode Island Study
TA Assignments

• RI has approximately 3000 TAs.

• Over 90% of these are in instructional
  capacities.

• Of those in instructional capacities, three-
  fourths work with students with disabilities.
  Research: Rhode Island Study
    Districts making great strides in establishing local TA
   policy & practice supports for TAs & Instructional Teams
•guidelines-deciding when TA needed for child or class
•TA job descriptions
•routine process for orientating TAs in new assignments
•training/strategies to help teachers work with TAs
•support instructional teams including planning time
•evaluate TAs in way that supports professional growth
•PD supports for TAs
•support TAs preparing for and/or taking ParaPro
•some type of career ladder supports for TAs
•TA retention, recruitment and TA substitute use
        Resources at
       www.ritap.org/ta
• Report of TA Practices in RI School
  Districts & Related Agencies

• TA Contacts in School Districts &
  Related Agencies
   Legal Requirements: Instructional TAs

Definition: Provide instructional support or other direct services
  re: school’s curriculum to students (&/or their parents/legal
  guardians) under supervision & direction of classroom
  teacher or other appropriately certified professional staff.
Qualifications
• Good Character
• High School Diploma or General Equivalency
• TA Training Program (If hired after 1/1/99)
• 1 of 3 of following
    – 2 years higher education
    – Associate degree or higher
    – Assessment (ParaPro is state assessment; local portfolio
       allowed if equivalent to associate degree
       knowledge/skills)
    Legal Requirements: Non-Instructional TAs

Definition: Employed as translators, solely involved in
    parental involvement activities, solely in non-
    instructional roles or other non-instructional direct
    services to students (&/or their parents/legal guardian)
    under the supervision & direction of the classroom
    teacher or other appropriately certified professional
    staff.
Qualifications
•   Good Character
•   High School Diploma or General Equivalency
•   TA Training Program (If hired after 1/1/99)
•   Proficiency in English & language other than English if
    serving as translator for ESL students
 Legal Requirements: Other Paraprofessionals

Definition: Paraprofessionals other than TAs
     - Therapy Assistants
     - Certified Nursing Assistants



Qualifications
• As recognized by RIDE
  Legal Requirements: State Standards

     RIDE Approved TA Training Programs Address
      Competencies Associated with 4 Standards

1. Professionalism in Communication &
   Collaboration
2. Instructional Opportunities
3. Learning Environment re: behavior
4. Health, Safety & Emergency Procedures
  Legal Requirements: State Guidelines
• TAs Working with Students Who Have English as a Second
  Language
• TAs Working under the Supervision of a Classroom Teacher
  with Students with Speech/Language Impairments
• TAs Who Support Students with Behaviors that Interfere with
  Learning and/or Relationships
• Instructional Teams, Supervision & Performance Evaluation
  Related to TAs
• TAs Assisting with Community-Based Instruction
• TAs Who Support Students with Diverse Academic Needs
  Legal Requirements Implementation
               Strategies
• Form Job Qualifications Committee
• Offer RIDE Approved TA Training Program or link
  with one
• Provide ParaPro training, tutoring, training resources
  & financial supports
• Offer Internet-Based ParaPro or link with district or
  collaborative that does
• Routine information resource sharing & emails
    Legal Requirements Resources at
           www.ritap.org/ta
• Checklist re: TA Qualifications
• State Standards & Guidelines
• Q&A
• Linkage to federal regulations & paraprofessional
  guidance
• Para Pro Resources
• RIDE Approved TA Training Programs Information
  (Pre-Employment Training)
    Instructional Team Model:
     Requirements/Guidelines
• A model of instructional collaboration
• Underscores perception of TAs as
  partners on Instructional Team
• Recognizes that ALL staff are valued
  professional colleagues
• Address day-to-day team operation
 Guidelines: Instructional Team

•Composition

•Team Roles & Responsibilities

•Instructional Team Supports
 (including Professional
 Development [PD])
        Roles & Responsibilities of
       Individual Team Members
• Clear distinctions between teacher &
  teacher assistant roles established
• General roles guided by job description -
  then further specified to address student
  needs & maximize team preferences &
  talents
• Right hand know what left hand is doing,
  why & progress being made
• ESL issues
     Differences in Roles and
    Responsibilities - Teachers
• Design, implement,evaluate        • For community-based
  instruction;                        instruction, plan, facilitate &
• Collaborate with families;          evaluate including:
• Consult with colleagues;             –Contact community placement
                                       & negotiate plans for student & TA.
• Plan programs;                       –Ensure TA knows expectations
• Participate in meetings to           including emergency, health &
  develop IEPs;                        safety.
• Classroom administrative tasks;      –Orient TA to student strengths &
                                       needs including “red flags” &
• Coordinate TA work :                 strategies to prevent failure in
   – Set goals & plans;                community experiences.
   – Schedule & assign duties          –Design communication tools for
       within classroom or team;       instruction outside teacher
                                       presence & ensure TA can use. Use
   – Direct & monitor day-to-          TA data to ensure continuity in
       day performance;                school & community instruction.
   – Provide feedback;                 –Periodically reviews TA work &
   – Provide job-embedded/on-          student progress.
       the-job training.
       Differences in Roles and
         Responsibilities - TAs
• Perform informal assessment;       • Practice standard health care
                                       precautions in both school &
• Observe/record information of
                                       community settings;
  student performance;
                                     • Monitor playgrounds,
• Assist with instruction;
                                       lunchrooms,etc.;
• Assist with behavior
                                     • Assist with follow-through for
  management;
                                       related services;
• Provide off-site community-
                                     • Maintain student & family
  based opportunities for
                                       confidentiality.
  students;
                                     • For community-based
• Facilitate inclusion of students
                                       instruction, communicate with
  with disabilities into general
                                       community site & the teacher
  education;
                                       & cultivate positive
• Assist student outside of            relationships with community
  classroom (labs, library);           representatives & the school.
 Instructional Team Planning
• Common Planning Time
  –   Scheduled routinely each week
  –   Specific agenda
  –   Task assignments
  –   Follow-up
  –   Outcomes
• Options for Finding Planning Time
• District & building administrators play
  critical role
     Instructional Team
 Implementation Strategies
•At beginning of school year, instructional
 teams (a) review TA job description & clarify
 roles & (b) develop goals & PD plans re: TA
 assignment
•TAs attend IEP meetings
•Grade level TAs work with same teachers
•Regularly scheduled team meetings
•Train teachers & TAs on effective teamwork
•Encourage teachers & TAs to attend
 training
  Instructional Team Resources
       at www.ritap.org/ta
• Standards & Guidelines
• Worksheets for Needs Inventory, Job
  Descriptions, Skills/Confidence Inventory &
  Work Style Analysis & Comparison - Materials
  align with State Guidelines
• Portfolio Prototype
• Annotated Bibliography of Numerous
  Publications & Training Modules - many
  available on loan in RI
  Job Description Requirements
• Identify job-specific duties/competencies
  needed for the assignment
• 2-tiered job description recommended in
  state guidelines
   – Tier 1: Core job description(s) established
     at district level
   – Tier 2: Defined roles & responsibilities
     established by the instructional team that
     may be unique to that specific position
Job Description: Typical Duties
1.  Perform informal assessment activities;
2.  Observe and record information of student performance;
3.  Assist with instruction;
4.  Assist with behavior management;
5.  Provide off-site community based opportunities for students,
    if appropriate to job assignment;
6. Facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities in gen. Ed.;
7. Assist students’ achievement outside of classroom, e.g.,
    computer lab, library;
8. Knowledge & practice standard health care precautions;
9. Monitor playgrounds, lunchrooms, etc.;
10. Assist with follow-through for related services, e.g.,
    speech/language therapy, OT, PT; &
11. Maintain student and family confidentiality.
Job Description: Typical Areas
 Position/Title
 Reports to (Evaluator of Job Performance)
 Immediate Supervisor (for day-to-day work)
 Job Goal/Result/Purpose/Essential Function
 Qualifications
 Other Job Requirements
 Duties/Performance Responsibilities/Essential
  Functions
 Work Year/Terms & Conditions of Employment
 Evaluation and Supervision Methods
        Job Description
   Implementation Strategies
• Convene work group
• Use existing job descriptions &
  related locally identified
  resources
• Use resources available on or
  through TA website.
           Job Description
    Resources at www.ritap.org/ta
• State Standards & Guidelines
• Examples of RI Job Descriptions
• Job Description Format
• Supports for Job Description
  Development
• Annotated Bibliography
• Worksheets
• National Skill Standards
  Considerations for TA Assignment
           Requirements
• IEP Driven for Students with Disabilities
• RI Staffing Regulations For Students with Disabilities
  Regarding TA Use - Based on Student Need
• TA Knowledge & Skills
• TAs Working Students with Speech/Language
  Impairments
• TAs Working with ESL Students
• TAs Who Support Students with Behavior that
  Interferes with Learning &/or Relationships
• TAs Assisting with Community-Based Instruction
• TAs Who Support Students with Diverse Academic
  Needs
  Considerations for TA Assignment
    Implementation Strategies
 Decision-Making Model for Natural Supports
     &/or Supplementary Aides or Services
•Part of IEP Development
•For any student with special needs

Class, Activity Student   Natural  Sup. Aides
or Skill Area Need        Supports or Services
 Considerations for TA Assignment
   Implementation Strategies
Professional/Program/Student Needs Inventory
•Use for aligning TA assignment with TA
 strengths & program & student needs
•Use on group or individual basis

Student Contract Form
•Use to promote student achievement,
 independence & inclusion including
 decisions about TA when TA support is & is not
 needed
  Considerations for TA Assignment
    Implementation Strategies
TA Assignment Options include (not limited to)
• 1:1 for all or most activities
• Different TAs work with student in different classes,
  activities or skill areas
• TA works with groups of students
Assignments
• Short or long term
• Adjusted as needed based on student
  progress/need
• Each with potential benefits & drawbacks
Bottom line - Assignment merits careful consideration
 related to student need
 Considerations for TA Assignment
  Resources at www.ritap.org/ta
• State Standards & Guidelines
• Decision-Making Model for Natural
  Supports &/or Supplementary Aides or
  Services
• Worksheet: Professional/Program/
  Student Needs Inventory
• Student Contract Form
• Annotated Bibliography
   Orientation of TAs Requirements
State Guidelines
• Overview of students’ strengths &
  challenges
• Introduce staff
• Review school policies & procedures
• Review roles & responsibilities
• Identify work styles & skills of teacher & TA &
  develop “team” approach
• Identify position-specific duties, building on
  job description
         Orientation of TAs
     Implementation Strategies

• 2 Tiered Orientation Process
• Back to School In-Service
• District Handbook
• Exiting & incoming TA meet/shadowing
• Buddy/TA Mentor
• Meeting with administrator
        Orientation of TAs
   Resources at www.ritap.org/ta

• State Standards & Guidelines
• Portfolio Prototype
• Annotated Bibliography
  – Instructional Assistant Handbook by Baltimore
    County Instructional Assistants & Clerical
    Employees, etc.
  – Paraeducator Mentor Program by Washington
    Education Association
     Professional Development
           Requirements
• Law - Ongoing PD for TAs. They document this PD
  on RICERT TA.
• Law - Districts/employers must maintain records of
  TA training for the work assignment & continuing
  education & relevant coursework using RICERT TA
  plus documentation of TAs meeting legally required
  qualifications
• Guidelines
   – Instructional Team Supports
   – On-the job training
   – Individual professional development plan
      PD Implementation Strategies
•   Team PD on “content” + effective teamwork/TA use
•   Various state & federal funds can be used
•   Tuition reimbursement
•   Cross program visitation
•   Mentor teams for beginning teams
•   District or school network/study teams
•   Professional organization, state & local training,
    including training for teachers when appropriate
•   Attending training as teams
•   Paid release time for TAs to attend training
•   Minimum requirements for TA PD (x hours per year)
•   Using email to keep TAs up-to-date
                 PD Resources
• RIDE Affiliated PD
   – Regional Teacher Assistant Networks
   – Specialized Training Opportunities:
      • Supporting Students with Behaviors that Interfere with
        Learning and/or Relationships
      • Resources for TAs in Community-Based Instruction
      • Resources for TAs who Support Students with Diverse
        Academic Needs

• Other
   – Free & Low Cost Training Opportunities in RI
   – Paraeducator Learning Network (PLN) by Master Teacher
                  Career Ladder
• District Strategies
   – TAs encouraged to continue education
   – Provide reimbursement for training
   – Chance to interview for open positions/promote from within
   – May take leave of absence for training or to accept another
     position (promotion) in district on trial basis.
   – Move up a step each year.
• CCRI Supports
   –   Field Placements for Persons Who are Working in Field
   –   Portfolio Assessment for Credit for Prior Learning
   –   Credit for RIDE Affiliated Training
   –   Flexible Course Offerings
• Career Advancement Supports at RIC for TAs Who Want to
  Become Special Education Teachers
 PD Resources at www.ritap.org/ta

•State Standards & Guidelines
•Worksheets
 – Paraeducator Skills/Confidence Inventory
 – Paraeducator Growth & Development
   Plan
•Annotated Bibliography - Numerous
 training modules & related materials
 available on loan
•Training Opportunities Information
   Supervision Requirements
• Law - TA performs duties under the
  supervision & direction of the classroom
  teacher or other appropriately certified/
  licensed staff

• RI Guidelines Definition - Supervisor is the
  instructional team leader/person(s) from
  whom TA takes instructional program
  direction - in most instances the teacher
   Guidelines for Supervision
• Orientation for TA Role on Instructional
  Team
• Management of Schedule/Delegation
• On-the-Job Training
• Management of the Work Environment
• Encouragement of Professional Behavior
            Supervision
      Implementation Strategies
• Regularly scheduled common planning time
• Common use of teacher’s plan book
• Message center
• Data/charts of student progress
• Communication long/notebook
• Train teachers on how to work with TAs
• Periodic meetings, e.g., special education
  director’s, grade level, etc.
• Team develops strategies with administrative
  support
      Supervision Resources at
         www.ritap.org/ta

• State Standards & Guidelines

• Various Worksheets

• Annotated Bibliography - Numerous
  books to borrow or purchase
 Performance Evaluation of TAs
        Requirements
• RI Guidelines distinguish from
  supervision
• Typically conducted by building
  principal or other administrator
• Include input of supervisor & TA
 Guidelines for Performance
         Evaluation
• Standards for Evaluation - linked to
  state standards &/or job description

• Styles of Evaluation - Choose from
  various format options

• Individual PD Plan - Link evaluation to
  PD
       Performance Evaluation
      Implementation Strategies
• Guidelines: Evaluation Format Options
  – Self-evaluation
  – 360 Degree Feedback
  – Checklists
  – Paired Interviews/Surveys
  – Conferencing
  – Observation
  – Portfolios
       Performance Evaluation
      Implementation Strategies
• Annual evaluation

• Performance-based

• Identify expectations at beginning of year
  based on
   – job description
   – team meeting &/or
   – goal setting
Performance Evaluation Resources
       at www.ritap.org/ta
• State Standards & Guidelines

• Worksheet: Paraeducator
  Performance Rating

• Annotated Bibliography - Numerous
  books to borrow or purchase
 Effective Use of Teacher Assistants
    Module Orientation Exercise

• Pre- post module test

• Open book assignment used in
  conjunction with access to Teacher
  Assistant website followed by
  discussion of learnings
          Guided Discussion


Generic set of questions to use/adapt:

  – For each module section

  – For module as a whole
             Bibliography


Many of these resources
• appear on Annotated Bibliography
• available on loan
        About the Authors
• Developers
  – Peggy Hayden (phayden@fctvplus.net)
  – Ann Marie Dubuque
    (adubuque@providence.edu)

• Funded by the RI Department of Education

• Support from
  – RI Technical Assistant Project (RITAP) at RI College
  – RI State Improvement Grant (RISIG) at Paul V.
    Sherlock Center on Disabilities at RI College

				
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posted:11/11/2011
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