Paraprofessionals: The unsung heroes of the classroom

Staffing shortages continue to impact schools across the U.S., and vacancies are an increasingly common occurrence. Parents’ minds often jump first to teacher shortages, with significant numbers of teachers leaving schools in 2022 in search of less stressful work. But another essential role in schools is facing an equally urgent staffing crisis: paraprofessionals.

Paraprofessionals, also referred to as classroom aides or a primary support person (PSP), are the glue in the school day, supporting teachers in monitoring classroom activities and ensuring that all students are where they need to be. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are greater than a million aides working in K-12 schools nationwide, with a meaningful subset focused on supporting special education delivery.

Paraprofessionals are particularly essential in special education. They’re an integral part of a team, working closely with clinicians—speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists—and students, both one-on-one and in small groups. They play a critical role in assisting the evaluation process on the student side, they document student behavior, and support assistive devices. In some circumstances, they may act as an extension of the hands of the clinician, helping to guide the student in various tasks.…Read More

5 tech tools I use in my elementary music classroom

Technology has become more prevalent in schools in recent years, with a big uptick due to the pandemic. Teaching online during the pandemic has shown us that high-quality tech tools are out there–but how do we continue to use these resources in our classrooms today?

The creation and use of digital music has also become more common today. How are we exposing our students to creating music through technology? I have found some online music resources that have transformed my teaching as an elementary general music teacher and have provided engaging content for my students.

1. Chrome Music Lab…Read More

K-12 Staffing Issues Require Creative Community Solutions

Austin, TX – Staffing issues have been common for many public schools across the country for years. Now, more than ever, communities are positioned to help schools solve this problem with a variety of technology, funding, and community solutions. 

Post-COVID, it’s tempting to believe that the pandemic caused the staffing shortages K-12 schools are currently facing. However, the shortages began after the Great Recession in 2008 when reducing public school funding by $1,000 per student was common in almost every state in the country. Despite state revenues being back to pre-recession levels by 2014, many states still have not increased school funding to pre-recession levels. Add in normal inflation and the unprecedented toll that the pandemic placed on everyone, and public schools are now facing some of the biggest staffing issues.

At WorkMonger, we believe that communities are better positioned than ever before to help solve the staffing issues public schools face. By using technology advancements, community support, staff tenacity, and state funding, communities can help public schools heal and thrive. …Read More

How our school is reimagining math education

At Scott Elementary School, our approach to education is defined as GAIN (Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation), which includes multiple initiatives to ensure each student reaches their maximum potential. Our focus is to inspire a love for learning and prepare students to be successful throughout every stage of their lives.

Indiana is one of that states that has not adopted Common Core State Standards. Similar to the Common Core standards in other states, we focus on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that students need to be successful. Our view is that the real power to learn rests with the learner. My role is to seek out ways to engage this power within each child to optimize their opportunities in life.

My corporation strives to educate the whole child by integrating academics with social and emotional learning. We inspire students’ desire to learn by making them feel important, leading by example, praising their successes, and developing their confidence.…Read More

How to create a multi-layered approach to ADHD treatment

According to the CDC, 9.4 percent of children have ADHD. Teachers are often familiar with the associated behaviors of ADHD. Each child’s presentation of ADHD is unique. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD include difficulty sustaining attention, completing assigned tasks at school (often including homework), physical restlessness, strain in social relationships and appearing off task due to daydreaming.

With nearly one in 10 kids struggling with some form of ADHD, it can put a strain on teachers in the classroom. For teachers and school systems, often the best way to manage ADHD in the classroom is to form a partnership with parents to develop a consistent strategy that can help children manage their ADHD behaviors. Consistency of care between a child’s home life and their school activities can provide the best support and least amount of disruption for the child as they transition between school and home. 

It is important to remember that the child’s brain is rapidly developing. Often they are not cognitively or emotionally developed enough to change their own behaviors. They need care and support from their parents and school systems. In many cases, teachers are aware of effective strategies for supporting children with ADHD, while parents are in new, uncharted territory as they begin to learn about the best ways to support their child.…Read More

New ParentSquare Guide Provides Best Practices to Help K-12 Educators Engage With the Hardest-to-Reach Families

Santa Barbara, CA — Feb. 18, 2021 — The role of effective communication has never been more critical, but districts and schools are facing a gamut of challenges in engaging all parents and guardians — especially the hardest-to-reach families. To help educators bridge the communications gap between school and home, ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12, has created a free best practice guide.

Titled “ Reaching the Last 10%: Engaging the Hardest-to Reach Families,” the 13-page guide provides practical recommendations to address five common barriers to effective communication. Additionally, readers can also access a companion infographic, “5 Barriers to Engagement Through Communications,” which provides supporting data points behind the five situations that can have a significant impact on family engagement.

“Our collective years of experience with schools and districts across the country helped us identify the challenges that we discuss throughout the guide,” said Anupama Vaid, Founder & President of ParentSquare. “It’s through that experience that we were able to observe and devise strategies to help educators overcome some of those obstacles.”…Read More

New AI Coach by Edthena Expands Access to Coaching for All Teachers

SAN FRANCISCO (February 10, 2022) – Edthena is revolutionizing teacher professional learning with the AI Coach™ platform. This first-of-its-kind solution helps schools and districts provide all teachers with supportive coaching in order to improve teaching effectiveness. The AI Coach platform uses artificial intelligence to guide teachers through coaching cycles aligned to common growth areas.

While working inside the AI Coach platform, teachers have a conversation with Edie, their virtual coach. Edie asks teachers about their professional goals, and then teachers analyze and reflect on videos of their classroom instruction by adding time-stamped comments.

Edie takes a guide-on-the-side approach to help teachers summarize the evidence found during video analysis and develop action plans to increase impact with their students. As part of their conversation with Edie, teachers develop a short-term goal, identify a strategy for change, and commit to a timeline for implementation. This evidence-based process enables teachers to receive many of the benefits of instructional coaching even if an in-person coach is not available.…Read More