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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation
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Resources to Support Remote Teaching and Learning

Paraprofessionals are integral to education and to education teams, and when equipped with resources that support their use of technology to help students learn, paraprofessionals can effectively and meaningfully support students’ learning. The OPEPP toolkit has two purposes: 1) to help guide educators about how best to use paraprofessional services in remote teaching and learning settings; and 2) to provide resources for paraprofessionals and teachers in the facilitation of virtual instruction and support of students.

General Guidance

Before making decisions about how to use paraprofessional services, districts and schools should confirm with paraprofessionals that they have the technology resources (e.g., equipment, materials, Internet access) necessary to provide virtual support to students (Giangreco, 2020). If they do not, then the district will either need to provide paraprofessionals the resources they need or tailor the kind of support paraprofessionals offer based on their individual circumstances. There are good reasons for paraprofessionals to be involved in working with students remotely; however, clarification of the roles of teachers, paraprofessionals, and related services providers in virtual settings should be established and communicated. For instance, teachers and related services providers should be reminded that communication with students’ families still remains their responsibility, rather than the responsibility of paraprofessionals. Thus, paraprofessionals need to be given explicit instructions by other educators on what to do if families reach out to them (Giangreco, 2020). While topics might be related to developing knowledge of content (e.g., literacy) or skills (e.g., intervention), training on the use of technology resources, such as videoconferencing, would also benefit paraprofessionals.
Using Paraprofessionals for Remote Teaching and Learning
Student using laptop on floorParaprofessionals often have established relationships with students in traditional school settings, so using paraprofessionals to support remote instruction can offer the “personal connection and continuity” (Giangreco, 2020) that students need. However, the same best practices for using paraprofessionals in face-to-face hold true in virtual learning. Giangreco (2020) offers the following general recommendations:
  • Paraprofessionals should engage only in tasks, whether instructional or non-instructional, for which they have been prepared;
  • Appropriately qualified professionals should direct and guide the work of paraprofessionals; and
  • Though the frequency and format may vary, consistent protocols for meetings between educators and paraprofessionals (e.g., establishing an agenda, planning for lessons, collecting student data, etc.) should be used.
Instructional Support
With regard to instructional support:
  • Paraprofessionals should provide only supplemental, not primary, instruction to students;
  • Supplemental instruction provided by paraprofessionals should be based on written lessons plans developed by teachers that also include a data collection component;
  • Since primary instruction should be the responsibility of the teacher, most instructional support provided by paraprofessionals should be synchronous, rather than asynchronous;
  • Instructional support provided by paraprofessionals should be practicing or reinforcing skills that have already been developed in students or minimizing educational regression (Giangreco, 2020); and
  • Paraprofessionals can also assist teachers by preparing, gathering, or posting materials for instruction
Non-instructional Support
Student using laptop at desk With regard to non-instructional support:
  • Paraprofessionals may help connect students virtually (perhaps through videoconferencing) to encourage peer interaction, but providing only as much support as necessary when facilitating these exchanges, especially when working with students with disabilities;
  • Non-instructional support might include delivering meals or essential supplies to families;
  • Paraprofessionals might also host live or recorded online story hours;
  • Paraprofessionals may conduct telephone check-ins with families, as long as they are given clear communication boundaries when talking with families, using a script provided by teachers or related services providers (Giangreco, 2020); and
  • Paraprofessionals may also assist families in implementing behavior supports and structures, under direction of teachers as needed

Repository of Resources

Teacher and student at desk with student writingBecause paraprofessionals work with many different students in a variety of contexts this toolkit includes resources that teachers might find most relevant to both their work and that of their paraprofessionals. A brief annotation for each resource is provided. The topics are organized as follows:
General Resources
education.ohio.gov – a resource guide created by the Ohio Department of Education that is organized by content area and includes links to Ohio’s Learning Standards and Model Curriculum and other ODE-developed instructional resources, identified for educators, parents and caregivers.
Inclusive Instructional Practices
controlaltachieve.com – a website that provides information on Google Chrome extensions to help struggling learners, particularly regarding accessibility A webinar demonstrating digital tools for inclusive instructional practices
Behavior Supports
wsdsonline.org a recorded webinar that offers training on identifying and addressing problem behavior ebip.vkcsites.org – a website of resources to address challenging behaviors for children with autism and other disabilities interventioncentral.org – a website that provides strategies to help teachers use positive interventions for challenging behaviors pbis.org – a website that offers videos, tools, articles, and practice briefs to help teachers use interventions that support positive behavior A video demonstrating how to redirect behavior of children using a problem-solving approach
Low Incidence Sensory Disabilities
Paraprofessional with sensory disability student nationaldb.org learning modules to support educators, families, and early service providers working with individuals with multiple disabilities and combined hearing and vision loss Recorded webinars by AbleNet, a website support for assistive technology, curriculum, and services to help individuals with disabilities wsdsonline.org a website of free support, resources, webinars, and videos for educators, families, and service providers; topics include hand-under-hand; likes/dislikes, resonance boards, routine-based learning, social Interaction with peers, space for active learning, and Usher Syndrome ablenetinc.com – live webinars for professionals working with individuals with disabilities littlebearsees.org – a website with general information about Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) resources, tips, ideas and news to support educators and families autisminternetmodules.org – modules related to autism; users must create an account to access the modules. Professional development certificates, continuing education credits, and college and university course credits are available for fees. nationaldb.org – Deaf-blind intervener learning modules designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students ages three through 21 who are deaf-blind and being served in educational settings pathstoliteracy.org – a website with tips for teaching students with blindness/visual impairments through virtual services
Sensory Motor Integration
understood.org a website providing information about sensory processing, its causes, and how to support students with sensory processing challenges pathways.org a website that provides a sensory integration guide for parents and support staff for children birth through age six sensory-processing.middletownautism.com – a website that provides resources for understanding sensory processing and strategies to support sensory processing
Fading Supports
OPEPP.org – a webinar on practices related to fading support for students with disabilities. Click on www.OPEPP.org; then click on the professional development tab; then on Grossi webinar-Fading Paraprofessional Support to Promote Student Independence lehsd.org – a resource packet to assist education professionals and paraprofessionals in working together to support students to foster student independence and fade supports lehsd.org – a guide to developing a plan for fading supports
Literacy Across the Curriculum
literacy.nationaldb.org – a website with information and resources for beginning or enhancing literacy instruction for children who have combined vision and hearing loss literacyconnections.com – a website with resources that are useful for teachers, volunteers, and directors of literacy programs. Topics include the language experience approach, phonics, word study, word families, and the best in children’s literature. pathstoliteracy.org – a website that provides early literacy ideas for students with multiple disabilities wsdsonline.org – a website that offers professional development for educators focusing on emergent literacy for students with visual impairments wsdsonline.org – a website that describes how to create experience books and explains how they can support learning of students with disabilities readingrockets.org – a website of articles, videos, and webinars whose topics relate to reading and writing for mostly elementary grades procon.org – a website designed for middle and high school teachers that offers articles, webinars, lesson planning, and other resources  to teach current and relevant topics loc.gov – a website that hosts a collections of primary resources for social studies teachers; also includes ideas for professional development activities iwonder.infohio.org – a website that provides free resources for teachers to help students practice math and vocabulary skills, explore a topic of interest or study, or engage in problem-solving activities
Social Emotional Learning
casel.org – a website that provides information about evidence-based social-emotional learning programs across the United States pathways.org– a website that defines social-emotional learning, describes the basics of SEL, and ways to help students develop SEL skills childmind.org – a website that covers a variety of topics on mental health and provides resources, guides, and videos for parents, teachers, and other professionals working with children struggling with mental health and learning disorders npr.org – an article focusing on the importance of developing social-emotional skills in preschool children fredrogerscenter.org – a website that provides resources for educators and families on how to talk with children about the corona virus
Mental Health Supports
education.ohio.gov – an ODE webpage on how to support children’s mental health during the corona virus neatoday.org – an article that describes how teachers are addressing the social emotional learning needs of children during the COVID crisis mentalhealth.gov – a website that provides information on the warning signs for mental health problems in students, as well as ways to support their emotional well-being and good mental health wgu.edu – a webpage that provides information about the importance of mental health awareness in schools
Trauma-informed Care
traumaawareschools.org – a website that describes the roles of trauma-informed schools, interventions to trauma, and provides resources that support trauma-informed efforts edutopia.org a website of videos on how to recognize, respond, and provide tools to help students cope with trauma A video that presents the symptoms of childhood trauma in students and how teachers can recognize and help address them
Instructional Design
wgu.edu – a website that provides videos, handbooks, and other resources to support remote teaching and learning in all disciplines wideopenschool.org – an interactive site for educators and families; resources are organized by PK-5 and 6-12 edulastic.com – a website that allows teachers to design lessons that sync with various functions of Google Classroom wordmint.com – a website that offers free resources that allow teachers to design learning materials, such as crossword puzzles and word searches, to support students’ vocabulary development community.mcoecn.org – a website that offers information about Public Resources to Support Remote Learning, including INFOhio sources and Zoom training pearsoned.com – a webpage that provides general guidelines for effective online teaching corwin-connect.com – a webpage of tips for designing asynchronous or remote learning; provides links for information on blended learning, visible thinking routine web tools, and project based learning catlintucker.com – a webpage with practical information for appropriate types of technology to consider when designing lesson plans and making instructional decisions about online learning catlintucker.com – a webpage that lists 25 web tools that teachers can use to facilitate interactive online learning neatoday.org – a webpage that provides examples of how educators have engaged students in online learning education.com – a website for PreK – grade 5 teachers that includes online games, guided lessons, lesson plans, interactive stories, science projects, and hands-on activities

References

Giangreco, M. F. (2020, April 13). College of Education and Social Services Center on Disability Services. University of Vermont. https://www.uvm.edu/cess/cdci/information-resources-and-updates Guidance for paraprofessionals on remote learning. (n.d.) United Federation of Teachers. Retrieved April 27, 2020, from https://www.uft.org/your-rights/safety-health/coronavirus/guidance-on-remote-learning/guidance-paraprofessionals-on-remote-learning
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