Title I, Part A Paraprofessional Requirements - Frequently Asked Questions


The following commonly asked questions were developed to assist districts in effectively utilizing paraprofessionals in Title I, Part A programs.

What qualifications must paraprofessionals meet under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)?

How is the term "paraprofessional" defined for these requirements?

How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals in a schoolwide program?

How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals in a targeted assistance program?

How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals who work with special education students?

Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to persons paid with funds under Title I, Part C (Education of Migratory Children), or Part D (Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk)?

Must a paraprofessional who provides services to eligible private school students and is employed by an LEA with Title I, Part A funds meet the requirements?

How do the requirements apply if a person performing noninstructional duties moves to a position with instructional duties?

What if a person has both instructional support and non-instructional duties?

Do the Title I, Part A requirements for paraprofessionals apply to districts or school sites that do not receive Title I, Part A funds?

Once a paraprofessional has met the requirements, is the status of being qualified "portable"? That is, can the paraprofessional be deemed qualified in other districts within the state?

Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to volunteers?

Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to translators?

Do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals working in Head Start programs?

Is a paraprofessional required to take a specific course of study?

When must the assessment be administered for newly hired paraprofessionals?

What are the requirements for the supervision of paraprofessionals?

 

Q. What qualifications must paraprofessionals meet under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB)? [Title I, Section 119 (f) and 119 (c)(1)]

A. NCLB requires that paraprofessionals have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent and meet one of the following qualifications if the paraprofessional will perform instructional duties in a Title I, Part A program:

  • Have completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education defined as completion of 48 semester hours of college coursework; or
  • Have obtained an associate's degree (or higher); or
  • Have taken and passed the WorkKeys test, Parapro Test or the Oklahoma General Education Test

All Title I, Part A paraprofessionals must meet the paraprofessional requirements.

The Parapro Test is offered through Educational Testing Services (ETS) information is available at www.ets.org.

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Q. How is the term "paraprofessional" defined for these requirements? [Title I, Section 119(g)(2)]

A. For the purposes of Title I, Part A the United States Department of Education (USDE) guidance defines a paraprofessional as an employee of a district who provides instructional support in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds. "Paraprofessionals who provide instructional support," includes those who (1) provide one-on-one tutoring if such tutoring is scheduled at a time when a student would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher, (2) assist with classroom management, such as by organizing instructional materials, (3) provide instructional assistance in a computer laboratory, (4) conduct parental involvement activities, (5) provide instructional support in a library or media center, (6) act as a translator, or (7) provide instructional services under the direct supervision of a highly qualified teacher.

Because paraprofessionals provide instructional support, they should not be providing planned idrect instruction, or introducing to students new skills, concepts, or academic content. Individuals who work in food services, cafeteria or playground supervision, personal care services, noninstructional computer assistance, and similar positions are not considered paraprofessionals under Title I, Part A.

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Q. How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals in a schoolwide program?

A. The requriements apply to all paraprofessionals in a Title I schoolwide program that provide instructional assistance in a core academic subject area, without regard to whether the position is funded with federal, state, or local funds. In a schoolwide program, Title I funds support all teachers and paraprofessionals.

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Q. How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals in a targeted assistance program?

A. In a Title I targeted assistance program, the requirements apply to all paraprofessionals who are paid with Title I, Part A funds that provide instructional assistance in a core academic subject area (but not to paraprofessionals paid with state or local funds in targeted assistance programs).

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Q. How do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals who work with special education students?

A. The requirements for persons who work with special education students differ depending upon their duties. If a person working with special education students does NOT provide any instructional support (such as a person who solely provides personal care services), that person is not considered a paraprofessional under Title I, Part A, and the requirements do not apply. If a person works in a Title I targeted assistance program, has instructional support duties in a core academic subject area, and is paid, in whole or in part, with Title I, Part  A funds, the requirements apply. If the person is not paid with Title I, Part A funds, however, the requirements do not apply. If a person works in a Title I schoolwide program and has isntructional support duties in a core academic subject area, the requirements apply without regard to the source of the funding.

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Q. Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to persons paid with funds under Title I, Part C (Education of Migratory Children), or Part D (Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk)?

The Title I, Part A paraprofessional requirements do not apply to individuals paid with funds under Title I, Part C or Part D unless these individuals are working in a schoolwide program under Part A or the paraprofessional is paid, in whole or in part, with Part A funds.

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Q. Must a paraprofessional who provides services to eligible private school students and is employed by an LEA with Title I, Part A funds meet the requirements?

A. Yes, such a paraprofessional must meet the Title I, Part A paraprofessional requirements because the individual is employed by the district.

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Q. How do the requirements apply if a person performing noninstructional duties moves to a position with instructional duties?

A. In this case, the person is a "paraprofessional" as defined for Title I, Part A purposes and must meet the requirements. In other words, the individual would have to hold a secondary diploma or its equivalent and mett the qualification requirements.

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Q. What if a person has both instructional support and non-instructional duties?

A. In this case, the person must meet the requirements because he or she carries out some instructional support duties.

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Q. Do the Title I, Part A requirements for paraprofessionals apply to districts or school sites that do not receive Title I, Part A funds?

A. No. If a district does not receive Title I, Part A funds, the requirements do not apply. Similarly, if a district receives Title I, Part A funds, but a school site within that district does not receive Title I, Part A funds, the requirements do not apply to paraprofessionals working in that school site.

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Q. Once a paraprofessional has met the requirements, is the status of being qualified "portable"? That is, can the paraprofessional be deemed qualified in other districts within the state?

A. A district may, at its discretion, determine that a paraprofessional meets the Title I qualification requirements if the individual was previously determined to meet these requirements when employed by another district.

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Q. Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to volunteers?

A. No. Volunteers are not paid employees of a district and the paraprofessional requirements do not apply to them. However, school officials are encouraged to work with volunteers to ensure they have information and training necessary to carry out the activities they are performing, as appropriate.

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Q. Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to translators?

A. No. Paraprofessionals who are employed solely as translators do not need to meet the Title I, Part A requirements.

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Q. Do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals working in Head Start programs?

In general, the requirements do not apply to paraprofessionals working in a Head Start program. However, the requirements would apply to paraprofessionals working in a Head Start program that is jointly funded with Title I, Part A funds and the paraprofessional is paid with Title I funds; for example, a program where Title I funds are the instructional component and Head Start funds the remainder of the program activities. The requirements would also apply when a Head Start program is part of a Title I schoolwide program. A Head Start program simply located at a schoolwide campus does not make the Head Start program part of the schoolwide program and ther requirement would not apply. Note: Although Head Start funds may not be combined in a Title I schoolwide program school (Federal Register notice of Thursday, September 21, 1995), all staff working in a Title I schoolwide program school are considered Title I staff and all students are Title I students.

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Q. Is a paraprofessional required to take a specific course of study? [Title I, Section 119(c)(1)(C)]

A. No. However, paraprofessionals must be able to demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics, or reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness. For this reason, a paraprofessional who chooses to meet the qualification requirements by completing two years of study in an institution of higher education and has coursework to complete in order to do so, is encouraged to take courses that will enable the paraprofessional to demonstrate knowledge of these subject areas.

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Q. When must the assessment be administered for newly hired paraprofessionals?

A. The assessment must be administered and passed before an individual is hired to work as a Title I paraprofessional. The LEA may hire the paraprofessional as a substitute for a short period of time until the assessment is passed if the LEA implements performance assessments where the students would need to "get to know" the paraprofessional before the performance assessment is administered.

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Q. What are the requirements for the supervision of paraprofessionals? [Title I, Sections 1119(g)(3)(A); § 200.59(c) of the Title I regulations]

A. Paraprofessionals who provide instructional support must work under the direct supervision of a highly qualified teacher. A paraprofessional works under the direct supervision of a teacher if (1) the teacher prepares the lessons and plans the instructional support activities the paraprofessional carries out, and evaluates the achievement of the students with whom the paraprofessional is working, and (2) the paraprofessional works in close and frequent proximity with the teacher. As a result, a program staffed entirely by paraprofessionals is not allowable. A program where a paraprofessional provides isntructional support and a teacher visits a site once or twice a week but otherwise is not in the classroom, or a program where a paraprofessional works with a group of students in another location while the teacher provides instruction to the rest of the class would also be inconsistent with the requirement that paraprofessionals work in close proximity to a teacher.

Source: United States Department of Education Title I Paraprofessionals Non-Regulatory Guidance

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Last updated on August 30, 2012