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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation
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Introductory Scenario

Instructional Teams

At Littrell Middle School, teaching teams provide a unique learning environment within the larger school building.  The teams consist of five core subject area teachers: English, literature, science, social studies, and math.  These five teachers all teach the same 150 students.  Guidance counselors, special-education teachers, and other specialists are also assigned to each team. This structure allows teachers to discuss the students they have in common and allows them to establish stronger teacher-student relationships based on an improved understanding of the students and their specific learning and behavior needs.

The team meets three days a week to discuss curriculum, instruction, and students.  Never before have they invited paraprofessionals to be a part of the team, but this year John Johnson asked if he could come to the meeting even it meant he had to eat his lunch while the team met.   The team welcomed John and suddenly John felt like a true professional with an important career that mattered to the kids and adults he worked with. 

Paraprofessionals help in all kinds of ways within schools and community settings.

Being a paraprofessional is complex since it covers many facets of support around a child’s day to day interactions with learning and living.

All parts of the work of paraprofessionals is centered on instruction. Whether paraprofessionals are helping a child to complete academic work, get around a school building, or socialize with their peers; All skills can be TAUGHT, MODELED, and PRACTICED!

Instructional Teams...

  1. Plan Instruction
  2. Monitor Instruction
  3. Improve Instruction

Paraprofessionals are part of instructional teams. Other members of the team include:

  • Speech Pathologists
  • General Education Teachers
  • Therapists
  • School Counselors
  • Parents
  • Intervention Specialists

Teams can be small too like one paraprofessional and one teacher.

Take Notes:

  1. What is the teacher’s role as a team member? As John’s supervisor?
  2. What are John’s role as a paraprofessional on the instructional team?
  3. How could having John on the team change outcomes for kids?
  4. What could be barriers to having John attend the meetings?

Think about the questions as you watch the webinar. Think about them as you work through the rest of the unit. These are actually not easy questions for teachers, principals, or superintendents.   Everyone on the team needs to think about them. They can use the answers to make decisions about how to work well together.

Go ahead and jot down some of your thoughts. At the end of the unit, we’ll circle back to these questions. 

Module: Helping with Instruction

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