On Friday May 16, 2014 I presented at the CESA 12 9th Annual Paraprofessional Conference. I had the distinguished honor to be the keynote speaker on Friday night, kicking off the conference. For those of you who don’t know, CESA 12 is nonprofit governmental agency that assists school districts in meeting the needs of their communities. There CESA system operates statewide and partners with school districts to offer training, resources, and guidance on many topics facing school districts.
And for further clarification, “paraprofessionals” are individuals who work within the special education system providing services and supports to special education students. They are sometimes called aides, assistants, para’s, and they are the workhorses of special ed. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, classroom assistants, one-to-one aides are just a few examples of the jobs para’s serve.
My session last Friday was an interactive and fun presentation that taught para’s about the legal aspects of what they do. The special education system is highly regulated and requires the use of timelines, procedures, and documentation. I discussed the various roles para’s may serve in evaluation, planning and implementation of special education plans. I also shared information about the use of seclusion and restraint, confidentiality of student information, implications of harassment and bullying.
It was a very fun evening for me with a group of enthusiastic learners. They had great questions and we had wonderful conversations about many topics and issues. Thank you, CESA 12 for the opportunity to present!
Johanna R. Kirk; Kirk Law Office, L.L.C.