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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:  21

POLICY CODE:  CGD/GDA

 

 

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

 

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

 

DATE:             September 3, 2003

 

RE:                   Requirements for Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals                                           

 

Title I, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001, has new requirements for paraprofessionals.  Please be advised that each Local Education Agency (LEA) receiving assistance under Title I, Part A must ensure that all paraprofessionals (Educational Technicians) hired after January 8, 2002 and providing instructional support in a program supported with funds under this Title meet one of the following requirements:

 

1.   Hold an Associate’s degree or higher; or

 

2.      Have sixty semester hours from an accredited two-year and/or four-year college(s) or university; or

 

3.      Achieve the qualifying scores on the “ParaPro” assessment.

 

In addition, each LEA receiving assistance under Title I, Part A must ensure that all “existing” paraprofessionals hired before January 8, 2002 and providing instructional support in a program supported with Title I funds satisfy the requirement in four years (by January 8, 2006).   The requirement applies to an Educational Technician whose position is funded by Title I funds, and to any Educational Technician employed in a school wide Title I program, regardless of the source of the funding of the particular positions.

 

The above requirements DO NOT apply to paraprofessionals working primarily as translators, or solely on parental involvement activities.  Also, individuals who work solely in non-instructional roles, such as food service, cafeteria or playground supervision, personal care services, and non-instructional computer assistance are not considered to be paraprofessionals for Title I purposes.

 

The “ParaPro” assessment, provided by Educational Testing Services (ETS), has been adopted by Maine as an option for meeting the NCLBA requirement for paraprofessionals for those Educational Technicians who may not either hold an Associate’s degree or higher, or have sixty semester hours of college credit, and for whom seeking an Associate’s degree or taking college courses is not possible.  The ParaPro assessment enables the  paraprofessional to demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to assist in, the instruction of reading, writing and mathematics.

 

The NCLBA requirements do not allow for waivers, and the law does not allow for a delay in implementation.  Therefore, I recommend that you encourage all Educational Technicians needing to meet this requirement to begin to do so  as soon as possible.  (Please note:  If an Educational Technician wishes to pursue Option 3, ParaPro, the assessment will be  available by February 1, 2004.) 

 

Please be advised that Title I and Title II funds may be used for ongoing training and professional development to help paraprofessionals meet the statutory requirements.

 

Each LEA  must designate an NCLBA contact person and submit the enclosed NCLBA Contact Form to the Department of Education by October 1, 2003.  The contact person will serve as the liaison between the LEA and the Department with regard to processing evidence of meeting the NCLBA requirement, and to ParaPro information and study materials.

 

All Educational Technicians who currently hold an upgraded Educational Technician authorization (Type 024 or 025) will receive personal evaluation letters regarding the above requirement.  All other Educational Technicians I, II, or III currently employed in a position needing to meet the federal requirement by January 8, 2006 should complete a Self Evaluation Form and submit it to the NCLBA contact person when these Self Evaluation forms become available.  These forms will be collected by the NCLBA contact person and sent to the Department of Education.  Only the Educational Technicians who must meet the NCLBA requirement must submit the Self Evaluation Form.  Educational Technicians not required to meet the NCLBA requirement may do so, if they wish.

 

A separate code will be added to an Educational Technician’s current authorization verifying that, in addition to holding a current authorization, the Educational Technician ALSO meets the NCLBA requirement as verified by submission of the appropriate forms from the LEA.

 

If you have questions or if we can assist you further, please contact Anne Wehrman, Distinguished Educator, Certification Office, at 207-624-6603 or by email: anne.wehrman@ maine.gov

 

 

Enclosures:            NCLBA Contact Form

                            Self Evaluation Form (EF-C-309P)

                            Verification of Parapro Score (EF-C-308P)