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If you work with paraprofessionals in your special education classroom setting then you know how important it is to have a plan for training and supervising them. A paraprofessional training binder is a great way to keep all of your training materials organized and in one place. Whether you're working with brand new paraprofessionals or a veteran classroom paraprofessional (or you're hoping for a fresh start at the beginning of the year!), a para binder can help get everyone on the same page.

Not sure what to include in your binder? Read on for some ideas.

8 Things Every Paraprofessional Training Binder Should Include

  • Classroom Layout and Expectations – This could include a diagram of the classroom, including where students with disabilities are placed, plus a list of the teacher's expectations for paraprofessionals. Another idea is to include the PURPOSE for each classroom area, i.e.: area designated for independent work systems or a distraction-free calm down corner.
  • School Safety and Confidentiality Statement – Every support staff binder (paraprofessionals, assistant teachers or aides, substitute teachers) should include these important topics, but it doesn't mean you have to create them on your own. Be sure to check out what's already provided by the special education program at the school district level.
  • Classroom Schedule (daily, weekly) – Another important thing to include in your paraprofessional training binder is a schedule of the activities that take place in your classroom on a daily basis. This will help the paraprofessional understand the structure of the day and know what to expect. Be sure to include any special instructions, such as days when there is lunch included or physical education class.
  • Students' Names and Contact Information – If you work with multiple students in a special education setting, it can be helpful to include a list of their names and contact information in the binder. This way, if the paraprofessional needs to get in touch with a parent or guardian, they will have all of the necessary information at their fingertips. You can also include any important medical information or allergies that the paraprofessional should be aware of. Don't forget to include communication logs for all those important conversations that occur during the busy school day!
  • Procedures for Working with Students with Disabilities – This should include specific instructions on how to work with students with various disabilities, as well as any behavioral interventions that may be necessary. I like to also include an overview of the disability category codes (IDEA). Be sure to leave space for note-taking, too!
  • Strategies for Teaching Academic Skills – This should include general instructional strategies for teaching academic skills, as well as specific instructions for teaching students with disabilities.A prompt hierarchy chart is also helpful here to reinforce best practices for using prompting with students when providing instructional support.
  • Strategies for Behavior Management – This should include general strategies for managing behavior, an overview of behavior plans, and tips for avoiding power struggles.
  • Data Sheets and Checklists – Include forms that can be used to track student progress, such as IEP goals. student behavior charts, as well as checklists that can help paraprofessionals stay organized. Not all paraprofessionals will be in a position to use data collection forms during classroom instruction, but it still may be helpful to see the “big picture” of what we're all working towards (progress on goals).

What else could be added to this list of special education training program topics?

Creating a well-organized paraprofessional training binder is a great way to set your paraprofessionals up for success. By including key topics such as behavior management, lesson planning, and emergency procedures, you can be sure that your paraprofessionals are prepared to handle anything that comes their way.

If you're looking for a ready-made solution, this Paraprofessional Training Binder Kit has everything you need to get started. Simply print out the contents, add your own school-specific information, and you're ready to go!

Paraprofessional Training – Professional Development for BUSY Special Educators

As I was searching for tips and best practices to support training our paraprofessionals, I found so many helpful resources. These materials were often ready to be printed and used to support staff, however…

One key ingredient I wasn’t able to find in all of this training was how to BEGIN.

Where do you start sifting through these print resources to begin forming a program that works?

I know in my own experience, I have assembled some VERY extensive binders. I hoped (prayed) that I included everything a paraprofessional (or any support staff member) would need to feel successful in the classroom.

Yet I still felt overwhelmed on how I was going to cover ALL these topics…that seem equally important.

As I continued to research, I thought to myself:

If I’m feeling confused about paraprofessional training as an experienced educator, how is a NEW special educator feeling right now?

Or maybe you’re not a new teacher, but have had some experiences that definitely highlighted the need for a training plan for the all of the adult support in your classroom.

Introducing Positive Paraprofessional Partnership – a six module MINI course that walks your through the entire process of training your special education paraprofessionals so they can be classroom rockstars.

Imagine transforming your classroom community in a weekend!

When you're ready to stop tip-toeing your support staff, click below:

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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