Frequently Asked Questions
Each year, the OPEPP project works with partner districts to support their efforts to use paraprofessionals most effectively. Using a systems approach to improvement and with support from an OPEPP consultant, partner districts analyze current practices around their uses of paraprofessionals, learn from research, and engage in professional collaboration to plan and implement district and schoolwide strategies so their paraprofessionals are best positioned to meet the needs of all students.
1. What is an OPEPP partner district?
An OPEPP partner district collaborates with OPEPP, an initiative of the University of Cincinnati Systems Development & Improvement Center and funded by the Ohio Department of Education, to engage in continuous learning activities that improve the effectiveness of educators–especially paraprofessionals–in meeting the educational needs of all students. The OPEPP work focuses on systemic improvement efforts grounded in evidence-based practices that optimize benefits for all learners.
2. What are the commitments of an OPEPP partner district?
An OPEPP partner district agrees to do the following:
- Create a district-level team of 5-7 members including a lead contact who will guide the OPEPP work. Members might include a director of special education, director of curriculum or professional development, principal, general education teacher(s), intervention specialist(s), and paraprofessional(s);
- As a team, participate in a one-day Fall Academy and a one-day Spring Academy in Columbus;
- Collaborate with a designated OPEPP consultant to complete a District Action Planning Process and use that process to guide the work to support the work;
- As a team, collaborate with the OPEPP consultant through face-to-face and virtual meetings, on a schedule mutually agreed upon by the district and consultant. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss and strengthen the district’s use of paraprofessionals and to take actions that develop paraprofessionals’ knowledge and skills;
- As a team, collaborate with the OPEPP consultant to plan and implement three to five professional development sessions that advance the learning of paraprofessionals and the educators with whom they work.
3. What types of support does an OPEPP partner district receive?
An OPEPP partner district receives coaching, technical assistance, and support for professional development from the OPEPP consultant.
4. How can a district benefit from participating in OPEPP?
Districts that have partnered with OPEPP have reported the following benefits from their participation in OPEPP:
- Creation of a district culture in which paraprofessionals are included, respected, and supported in ways that promote continuous growth;
- Clarification of paraprofessionals’ roles and responsibilities;
- Provision of targeted professional development for paraprofessionals;
- Improved communication between the district and their paraprofessionals; and
- Promotion of collaboration among paraprofessionals and their educational team to improve student outcomes.
5. Where can a district get more information about becoming an OPEPP partner district?
Districts that are interested in an OPEPP partnership with the University of Cincinnati Systems Development & Improvement Center should contact email@example.com.