Meeting the needs of students with disabilities through inclusive programs is a nationwide initiative largely fueled by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act. American schools have experienced an increase in the number of paraprofessionals employed to serve special education students and paraprofessionals have endured changes to their responsibilities within the classroom. Paraprofessionals play a key role to assisting students with disabilities in achieving academic progress in regular education courses according to several recent studies. The purpose of this study is to examine the differences between current training practices and perceived training needs of paraprofessionals in Lake County Schools. Of particular interest is an exploration of the changes that have occurred in training practices and the paraprofessional role within an inclusion classroom since NCLB of 2001. Quantitative research through surveys and qualitative data through interviews provide the analysis among educators employed by Lake County Schools. As parental expectations and federal mandates require a shift in expectations for public schools, it is a requirement for schools to include students who come from various roots, economic conditions, race, and culture with a multitude of learning abilities and styles in general education classrooms. Inclusion reallocates the responsibility for children with special needs from special education instructors by expanding it to the whole school community. An exploration of the changing role of the special education paraprofessional served as the focus of this research. Based on the findings of this research, it is generally accepted that paraprofessionals assist regular education teachers and special education teachers in providing instructional support to students with disabilities in the classroom; while teachers retain responsibility for leading classroom instruction and managing the instructional environment including the management of behavioral concerns. Regular education teachers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals viewed the current training practices differently, but the groups formed a consensus that additional training needs for paraprofessionals was essential to their role within the classroom.
|Advisor:||Gaughan, Linda K.|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Special education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Disabilities, Inclusion, No Paraprofessional Left Behind, Paraeducator, Paraprofessional, Paraprofessionals, Special education|
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