Paraprofessionals in the School Setting

Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Jed Locquiao


paraprofessional, lack of training, special education


This research project will examine the different roles and expectations of a paraprofessional in a school setting. A paraprofessional in an education setting primarily works with one or more students for instructional activities, physical or behavior management, or other purposes under the supervision of a special education teacher and/or general education teacher. Paraprofessionals play a vital role in the school environment and are role models for students. Students form relationships with paraprofessionals as they are able to spend one-on-one time more often. They don't get recognized for all that they do, and are undertrained and underpaid for what is expected of them. There are not enough resources and training available to paraprofessionals, especially those who work with students with high needs. Paraprofessionals should be trained in an assortment of areas so that they are able to successfully handle issues as they occur. When trained successfully in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), staff will have the ability to prevent and/or positively manage disruptive, challenging, or aggressive behavior. CPI is a powerful resource, and all paraprofessionals should be trained in it who work with students who show challenging behaviors.

From reading articles on the topic, it is clear that paraprofessionals feel undertrained in certain areas. “Although most reported moderate levels of understanding across core knowledge standards, paraprofessionals articulated additional training needs in each area” (Carter, 2009). Paraprofessionals often assist classroom teachers in delivering core content to students, yet they do not have any formal training to do so.

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