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INFORMATIONAL LETTER:   86      

POLICY CODE:   GCFC/GDA

 

TO:                   Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              January 24, 2005

RE:                   Reminder:   Requirements for Highly Qualified 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

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 within four years of the passage of the No ChildLeft Behind Act (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 funding of the particular positions.  

The above requirements DO NOT apply to paraprofessionals who are employed in non-Title I schools, or to those employed in non-school wide Title I programs, or who work 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 one 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 forty-eight (48) 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.

There are two options for taking the ParaPro Assessment:

1.    Paraprofessionals may go to a designated site and take a pencil/paper version of the test.

They must register for this option ahead of time and use the form available only in the ParaPro Assessment Bulletin which can be ordered (free) through www.ets.org/parapro.   This site also is where to find Maine test sites.   Click “Registration” and then “Supplemental Test Centers”.   The remaining dates and locations for this year are:

March 5, 2005 at UMaine Farmington, UMaine Orono, and UMaine Presque Isle

April 16, 2005 at Cony High School, Augusta, UMaine Orono, University of Southern Maine, and UMaine Presque Isle

June 11, 2005 at UMaine Farmington, UMaine Orono and UMaine Presque Isle

2.    Paraprofessionals may take the test online at a designated local site.

In order to offer the ParaPro Assessment online, each LEA needs to activate and receive their ETS District Code, also called a "Recipient Code."

Paraprofessionals who wish to take the Paper and Pencil version of the test need to put this Recipient Code on their Registration Form to allow their LEA to receive a copy of their Score Reports.

LEAs that will be administering the ParaPro Internet-based Test (ParaPro IbT) need this code to access the ParaPro IbT Administrative Website.   This website is where you will purchase IbT tests, view IbT scores, etc.

To activate and receive your ETS District Code, complete the application at http://www.ets.org/parapro/ippform.html.   Although this web page talks only about the Internet-based Assessment, it is now being used to activate all District Codes.   After your application has been validated, the e-mail address entered in the application will receive an e-mail message with a "User ID" and Password.   The "User ID" is your District Code.   The Password is for accessing the ParaPro IbT

Administrative Website to purchase Internet-based ParaPro Tests.   If your LEA does not intend to administer the Internet-based Assessment, please disregard the Password and instructions.   If you have questions, please e-mail them to www.parapro@ets.org   or call 1-800-772-9476.

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 has been available since February 1, 2004.)  

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.

Please be advised that Title I and Title II funds may be used for on-going training and professional development to help paraprofessionals meet these statutory requirements.

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