Paraprofessionals in the Classroom
Paraprofessionals play a vital role in both general and special education classrooms. It is however, important to distinguish the roles and responsibilities of a paraprofessional who is assigned to a classroom for support of multiple or even all students from those of a paraprofessional who is assigned to an individual student within the classroom, as required by that student’s IEP. While a classroom paraprofessional is able to assist with general classroom routines and assist all students within a classroom, a paraprofessional who is required to provide 1:1 support for a specific student, as mandated by the student’s IEP, should not have responsibilities outside of working with that individual student.
The purpose of the Paraprofessional resource for teachers is to assist in their understanding of how to best utilize a paraprofessional in the classroom. Both general and special education settings are addressed (including non-traditional settings such as in-home or community-based settings). The intent of this is to use it as a resource, not as a strict set of “rules” that must be followed. However, some non-negotiable pieces that are required by federal and/or state regulations/rules are included and are noted throughout the document.