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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation
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Build Stronger Connections for Kids

When you are interacting with an employee from another agency, be aware of your assumptions, exercise patience, observe carefully, think before you speak, and do all of this in order to advance the interests of the instructional team. 

Students with special needs often require supplemental services from organizations beyond the school district. These organizations can range from private transportation providers to specialized agencies for particular disabilities. As a paraprofessional, your role may involve interacting with personnel from such organizations, necessitating an understanding of collaboration dynamics and confidentiality rules.

Interacting with External Organizations

Educators must frequently collaborate with non-school organizations to fulfill the requirements outlined in students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 plans. This collaboration may involve tasks such as escorting students to therapy sessions or adapting to varying rules when employed by different organizations. Interagency collaboration poses challenges due to organizational differences, requiring effective communication strategies.

 

Understanding Organizational Differences

It’s crucial to recognize that personnel from external organizations may not operate under the same expectations as school educators. Differences in procedures, expectations, and perspectives are common. As a paraprofessional, navigating these distinctions becomes essential, whether you work in a dual capacity (e.g., an ESC and a school) or interact with specialists from different agencies.

 

Applying Effective Communication Principles

To navigate the challenges of interagency collaboration, apply the principles of effective communication. Be conscious of assumptions, exercise patience, observe attentively, and think before speaking. Adhering to these principles contributes to the interests of the instructional team, strengthens connections with external service agencies, and ensures that students receive necessary supplementary services.

Building Strong Connections

By maintaining a courteous, respectful, and observant approach, you contribute to building stronger connections between your instructional team and external organizations. Sharing insights about partner organizations with your team fosters a collaborative environment. Interagency collaboration becomes a valuable component of an effective team, promoting the seamless provision of services for students with special needs.

In summary, as a paraprofessional, your role in collaborating with external organizations is vital for supporting students and building a network of organizational partners. Effective communication and awareness of confidentiality issues contribute to the success of interagency collaboration.

Module: Communication and Collaboration

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