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Paraeducator Preparation Guidelines

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About Our Paraeducator Preparation Guidelines

Paraeducator Preparation Guidelines

Performing tasks prescribed and supervised by a fully licensed special education professional, paraeducators deliver individualized services to individuals with exceptionalities across a wide variety of settings, including general education classes, community-based functional learning sites, and just about everywhere that a special education professional can be found. Paraeducators may work with an entire classroom of students or may be assigned to work one-on-one with a student with exceptionalities.

To ensure that paraeducators have the required skills for their expanded roles, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), in collaboration with the National Resource Center for Paraeducators (NRCP), developed and validated the Specialty Set of Knowledge and Skills for Paraeducators in Special Education, the essential knowledge and skills that paraeducators serving individuals with exceptionalities should possess. 

We also validated an additional set of knowledge and skills for paraeducators interveners who serve individuals with deafblindness.

Special Education Paraeducator Guidelines

Preparation Standard 1: Learner Development and Individual Learning Differences

Knowledge
PCCG.1.K1 Typical and atypical human growth and development
PCCG.1.K2 Similarities and differences of individuals with and without exceptionalities and among individuals with exceptionalities
PCCG.1.K3 Educational implications of characteristics of various exceptionalities
PCCG.1.K4 Family systems and the role of families in supporting development
PCCG.1.K5 Role of families in the educational process
PCCG.1.K6 Effect of exceptionalities on individuals, families, and society
PCCG.1.K7 Common concerns of families of individuals with exceptionalities
PCCG.1.K8 Cultural perspectives influencing the relationships among families, schools, and communities as related to instruction
PCCG.1.K9 Effect of culture and the contributions of culturally diverse groups
PCCG.1.K10 Characteristics of one’s own culture and use of language, and how these may differ from individuals with exceptionalities from other cultures 
PCCG.1.K11 Effect of speech and language development on academic and nonacademic learning of individuals with exceptionalities 
PCCG.1.K12 Implications of language levels for individuals with exceptionalities learning the dominant language 
PCCG.1.K13 Implications of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication
Skills
PCCG.1.S1 Demonstrate respect and appreciation for differences in values, languages, and customs among home, school, and community
PCCG.1.S2 Implement concepts associated with disability rights, normalization, and inclusive practices
PCCG.1.S3 Access credible resources to extend and expand understanding of exceptionalities

 

Preparation Standard 2: Learning Environments

Knowledge
PCCG.2.K1 Purposes of supports and services for individuals with exceptionalities
PCCG.2.K2 Rights and responsibilities of individuals with exceptionalities and other stakeholders related to exceptionalities
PCCG.2.K3 Eligibility categories for special education and supports and services typically associated with each category
PCCG.2.K4 Rules and procedural safeguards regarding behavioral support of individuals with exceptionalities 
PCCG.2.K5 Communicative intent of behaviors
PCCG.2.K6 Importance of the paraeducator serving as a positive model for individuals with exceptionalities
Skills
PCCG.2.S1 Facilitate the integration of individuals with exceptionalities into various settings as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S2 Facilitate friendships as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S3 Use knowledge of individual’s strengths and interests to encourage engagement in varied school and community activities as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S4 Provide least intrusive level of support based on the demands of the learning environment as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S5 Use routines and procedures to facilitate transitions as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S6 Promote choice and voice of individuals with exceptionalities in building classroom communities as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S7 Support safe, equitable, positive, and supportive learning environments in which diversities are valued as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S8 Establish and maintain rapport with learners
PCCG.2.S9 Adapt physical environment to provide optimal learning opportunities as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S10 Implement individualized reinforcement systems and environmental modifications at levels equal to the intensity of the behavior as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S11 Promote self-advocacy and independence as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S12 Use universal precautions to assist in maintaining a safe, healthy learning environment
PCCG.2.S13 Protect the health and safety of individuals with exceptionalities
PCCG.2.S14 Support individuals with exceptionalities by modeling and facilitating the use of collaborative problem solving and conflict management
PCCG.2.S15 Implement active supervision when responsible for non-instructional groups as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S16 Use strategies as determined by the instructional team in a variety of settings to assist in the development of social skills 
PCCG.2.S17 Support individuals with exceptionalities in following prescribed classroom routines as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.2.S18 Use strategies that promote successful transitions for individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.2.S19 Use a variety of positive behavioral supports to enhance an individual’s active participation in activities as determined by the instructional team

 

Preparation Standard 3: Curricular Content Knowledge

Knowledge
PCCG.3.K1 Individual learner characteristics as the primary basis for instructional decision making, rather than disability categories or educational placement
PCCG.3.K2 Purpose of individual plans relative to general education curriculum
Skills
PCCG.3.S1 Demonstrate proficiency in academics including oral and written communication, literacy, and mathematical skills appropriate to the assignment 
PCCG.3.S2 Use basic educational terminology
PCCG.3.S3 Implement levels of support appropriate to academic and social-emotional needs of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.3.S4 Adapt instructional strategies and materials as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.3.S5 Make responsive adjustments to instruction consistent with professional development guidelines as determined by the instructional team

 

Preparation Standard 4: Assessment

Knowledge
PCCG.4.K1 Purposes of assessment
Skills
PCCG.4.S1 Record information in various formats as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.4.S2 Assist in collecting and providing objective, accurate information for the instructional team

 

Preparation Standard 5: Instructional Planning and Strategies

Knowledge
PCCG.5.K1 Concept of evidence-based practice
Skills
PCCG.5.S1 Follow written plans, seeking clarification as needed
PCCG.5.S2 Prepare and organize materials to support teaching and learning as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S3 Use instructional strategies and materials as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S4 Match communication methods to individual’s language proficiency as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S5 Use age- and ability-appropriate instructional strategies, technology, and materials for individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S6 Use instructional time effectively
PCCG.5.S7 Modify pace of instruction and provide organizational cues as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S8 Support the use of learning strategies and study skills to promote acquisition of academic content as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S9 Reteach and reinforce essential concepts and content across the general education curriculum as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S10 As determined by the instructional team, use strategies to facilitate maintenance and generalization of skills 
PCCG.5.S11 Use an individual’s responses and errors, especially a pattern of errors, to guide next instructional steps and provide ongoing feedback as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S12 Support individuals with exceptionalities’ use of self-assessment, problem-solving, and other cognitive strategies as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S13 Use strategies to promote the individual’s positive sense of identity, self-control, and selfreliance as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S14 Support the development of oral and written communication by reinforcing language and speech skills of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.5.S15 Support individuals with exceptionalities in the effective use of vocabulary in multiple environments as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S16 Support the use of strategies with individuals with exceptionalities to remember verbal and written directions as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S17 Support the acquisition and use of learning strategies to enhance literacy of individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S18 Support individuals with exceptionalities in the maintenance and generalization of strategies for effective oral and written communication across environments as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S19 Support individuals with exceptionalities in their use of augmentative and alternative communication skills and other assistive technology as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.5.S20 Use and maintain educational and assistive technology for individuals with exceptionalities as determined by the instructional team

 

Preparation Standard 6: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

Knowledge
PCCG.6.K1 Roles and responsibilities of the paraeducator related to instruction, intervention, and direct service 
PCCG.6.K2 Personal and cultural biases and differences that affect one’s practice
PCCG.6.K3 Principles that guide ethical practice
PCCG.6.K4 Professional growth opportunities for continued learning
Skills
PCCG.6.S1 Practice within the limits of the defined paraeducator role
PCCG.6.S2 Practice within one’s skill limits and obtain assistance as needed
PCCG.6.S3 Practice with competence, integrity, and sound judgment
PCCG.6.S4 Maintain the dignity, privacy, and confidentiality of all individuals with exceptionalities, families, and school employees 
PCCG.6.S5 Use local policies for confidential communication about team practices
PCCG.6.S6 Conduct activities in compliance with applicable laws and policies
PCCG.6.S7 Implement legal and ethical practices in behavioral interventions as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.6.S8 Report suspected child abuse, suicidal ideation, and dangerous behaviors as required by law, policies, and local procedures 
PCCG.6.S9 Reflect on one’s performance to improve practice
PCCG.6.S10 Request and use feedback from supervising professionals

 

Preparation Standard 7: Collaboration

Knowledge
PCCG.7.K1 Purposes of collaborative teams
PCCG.7.K2 Roles and relationships of paraeducators and other stakeholders on the instructional team
Skills
PCCG.7.S1 Recognize the role of the teacher as leader of the instructional team
PCCG.7.S2 Follow chain of command to address policy questions, system issues, and personnel practices 
PCCG.7.S3 Respect role differences of teachers, paraeducators, and other professional practitioners
PCCG.7.S4 Forge respectful relationships with teachers, colleagues, and family members
PCCG.7.S5 Communicate effectively with stakeholders as determined by the instructional team
PCCG.7.S6 Provide accurate and timely information about individuals with exceptionalities to individuals who have the need and the right to know as determined by the instructional team 
PCCG.7.S7 Participate actively in conferences and team meetings

 

Download the Special Education Paraeducator Preparation Guidelines

Download the Special Education Paraeducator Intervener Guidelines for Individuals With Deafblindness (PDBI)

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