Fischler College of Education: Faculty Articles

Title

Expanding Teacher Preparation Pathways for Paraprofessionals: A Recruiting Seminar Series

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2009

Keywords

Seminars, Professional Development, Paraprofessional School Personnel, Preservice Teacher Education, Alternative Teacher Certification, Curriculum Evaluation, Testing Programs, Teacher Recruitment, Educational Benefits, Participant Satisfaction, Interviews, Assignments, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation

Publication Title

Teacher Education Quarterly

ISSN

0737-5328

Volume

36

Issue/No.

2

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Paraprofessionals represent a growing segment of district employees seeking professional licensure. National preparation programs through the American Federation of Teachers, national testing programs, and state initiated portfolio programs offer a variety of options for meeting the stipulations set under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and for attracting paraprofessionals into the teaching profession. The federal government defines paraprofessionals as any person who works under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher in an early childhood, elementary, or secondary school. Paraprofessionals may work in traditional classrooms or with language education teachers, special educators, or in immigrant education programs. Clearly the work of paraprofessionals is becoming more technical, requiring increased training and evaluation. Now more than ever, those employing paraprofessionals are in need of professional development resources that are current and reflect the changing work responsibilities of paraprofessionals and the communities in which they work. Several studies have sought ways of strategically recruiting minority paraprofessionals into the teaching profession. However, the majority of studies on paraprofessionals fail to address the ways in which collaborative linkages between institutions of higher education and local school districts respond to the unique needs of individuals within the paraprofessional community. Additionally, past studies fail to examine the relationships between immigrant paraprofessionals and the development of a pre-teacher recruiting curriculum that extends beyond test preparation and skills training. This project examines the collaborative efforts of stakeholders involved in developing an innovative seminar series for recruiting paraprofessionals into the teaching profession. Participants in the study completed a year-long preservice Introduction to Teaching course through a western university. This project investigates the effectiveness of a professional development experience designed to increase the recruitment of paraprofessionals as a pool of prospective teachers. This collaborative project examines the curriculum and assignments used as part of a recruiting seminar series. The perspectives of non-native and native English speakers employed as paraprofessionals in an urban school district are discussed. The goal is to examine how a recruiting curriculum meets the needs of a diverse group of paraprofessionals.

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