Paraprofessionals in First Grade Help Prepare Students for Success

CCSD Media Specialists are worried about job cuts across the board.  We are particularly troubled by the prospect of first grade paraprofessionals being cut, because first grade paraprofessionals:

Provide instruction that is developmentally appropriate:

On average, first graders developmentally don’t have ability to work independently for more than 15 minutes (Piaget) – It is crucial to change learning activities with guidance as needed.

Work with small groups
a. Literacy center: Smartboard activities, Grammar Reviews,
b. Math: Number sense activities, Reteaching for students below grade level (remediation), Calendar activity, preparing/organizing math centers in collaboration with the main teacher

Students who received these accommodations improved greatly in academics.
Data available: Running Records, Reading level tracker, Data team records, RTI records

Support subgroup instruction:

Special education/ESOL: small group testing, one on one instruction-phonemic awareness

Collaboration in planning: Two of three current professionals are highly qualified/certified teachers with many years of experience. They help planning qualification beyond volunteers – content knowledge, experience, understanding students and school environment. Although we appreciate and encourage volunteers participation, these qualities cannot be replaced by volunteers.

Support students in need:

TAs fill the learning gap for children who don’t have supportive home environments–who do not get this support otherwise
a. Going over homework in the morning
b. Meeting physical/emotional needs
c. More one-on-one time during instruction

Collect data for RTI during instructional time while main teachers are teaching
Many RTI accommodations are not possible without the paraprofessionals’ support
a. One-on-one remediation/tutoring
b. Small group instruction

Help create a safe environment – In case of emergency with at-risk students (behavioral/health), teachers cannot leave the class without supervision in order to address the urgent issues.
a. seizures
b. traumatic allergy reactions
c. behavior outbursts
d. severe accidents
Snowball effect

Students who are promoted to next grades without such support listed above
cannot perform as well as they have been with the support of the paraprofessionals, thus resulting in decreasing levels of the academic performance and the stability of the school as a whole.

*By law, we are not to leave students unsupervised.

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