Column: Worthington celebrates its paraprofessionals' work
By Deb Stoll, District 518 WORTHINGTON -- This past week, Minnesota celebrated Paraprofessional Recognition Week in school districts across the state. Worthington would also like to recognize and say thank you to the paraprofessionals that work w...
By Deb Stoll, District 518
WORTHINGTON - This past week, Minnesota celebrated Paraprofessional Recognition Week in school districts across the state. Worthington would also like to recognize and say thank you to the paraprofessionals that work within our district. The paraprofessionals are often described as patient, kind, flexible and helpful, but they are more than just these characteristics.
In Worthington, paraprofessionals are required to complete the nine competency areas provided by the Minnesota Department of Education. These competencies are quite broad and oftentimes take up to three months of study in order to complete them. The nine competencies cross a large variety of subjects including; the philosophy and history of education, characteristics of learners, understanding the diagnosis of learning problems, instructional practices, supporting the teaching and learning environment, professionalism and ethical practices, managing student behavior and social interaction, communication and collaboration techniques, and finally understanding academic instructional practices for math, reading and writing.
Along with understanding the competencies and applying that knowledge, paraprofessionals also are provided training in the areas of crisis prevention intervention, Department of Transportation training, behavior analyst consultation and training, daily documentation and data collection training, confidentiality training and relationship training provided by a board certified behavior analyst. In addition to these supports, when a new paraprofessional is hired by the district they are given an opportunity to work with a paraprofessional mentor for one to two years depending on the support that is needed.
Paraprofessionals are a very valuable attribute to our classrooms in Worthington. They are the eyes and the ears of our teachers and are quite busy with many students in the classroom. Of their many duties, paraprofessionals often provide re-teaching opportunities for our students, reinforce the daily lessons, encourage students on their daily progress and - most important - care for our student’s needs within the classroom. A famous quote states, “Many hands make light work,” and our paraprofessionals are so valuable within our district.
Worthington District 518 recognizes the dedication, hard work and commitment of the paraprofessionals in the district. We also appreciate the level of commitment and perseverance it takes to do this important job of serving our students and assisting our staff. We thank you for your service to students and staff of District 518 and for a job well done.
Deb Stoll is assistant director of special education for District 518.