Whether that first bell has sounded for you or not, we’re back for the 2017-2018 academic school year. We hope your summer has been relaxing. We’ve been working away at plans all summer for this year’s blog.
With that said, it’s been four years of blogging (with only three years of archives due to the great blog disaster of 2014), and five years of ParaEducate. So it’s time for a brief history lesson.
ParaEducate started out as just an idea for a book in June 2011. The book would help new paraeducators find their way in their academic setting.
By October 2011, the book was solidly in the first round of edits and an idea crept forward: what if we took all the academic modifications and actively made them available for others? Not just the lessons, but entire units…And then ParaEducate the company took off from there. Since the publication of ParaEducate in 2012, we’ve published seven additional texts for use with K-12 students on a variety of academic topics (Science, History, US Government, PE, Shakespeare, and Geography). Additionally, we prepare units or materials and make those available for purchase.
In 2012, we started the weekly blog during the academic year to reach out and connect with professionals and parents on a regular basis and remind each other of the importance of constantly connecting with other professionals to refine our work, even for those who may only be in the classroom for just a year.
All along the way, we’ve gone to conferences to meet up with teachers, professors, self-advocates, allies, and other paraeducators. We share back what we’ve discovered, research and experiences are too rich not to share.
ParaEducate has grown, and continues to grow as a company started to be a resource for Special Education Teachers, Paraeducators, and advocates for people with disabilities. We have provided a variety of information through our books, blog, and conferences.
We appreciate your continued support through social media, meeting us at conferences, and supporting our materials. For 2017-2018, we are looking forward to meeting new folks through our blog.
What do I need for the first week of school?
If you’ve not started, this is awesome. We asked on our Facebook page and we will tell you: we got a lot of suggestions.
- Have fun. Do the silly ice breaker. Take the photo with the neon glasses.
- Learn the routines, find out where it would work best for the teacher to have you, scan the classroom for the students who might need help, be noticeable and invisible all at the same time.
- Read the IEP. We assure you, the teacher hasn’t had time to read them, know five things for every student you work with. Scan quickly and pick up those things and realize, you’ll have missed something but it’s okay.
- Read notes that the parents pass on to you about their child. Doing so acknowledges the tradition that parents are the first teachers of any child and they’ve known their child for far longer than you.
- Give the student a chance to have a few inches of space to be independent, even in the first days. It may be a chance for that student to grow.
- That first week is about understanding the school year is a marathon, not a sprint. Everything is not needed “right now” and it’s about making those connections that may not otherwise get a chance to develop. The smile between professionals
- Not to forget the basics: a couple of pencils, a notebook, tissues, hand sanitizer, and a pen.
“Paraprofessionals & Teachers Working Together” Third Edition by Susan Fitzell, M.Ed.
It is rare that ParaEducate gets materials and reviews them on the blog. We’ve known Susan professionally for a few years, and the opportunity to take a look at her new book came our way.
A little aside, we received a free copy of the book pre-publication.
One of the first things we noticed that excited us: Susan has made this a workbook. It’s not just simply to highlight and refer to, it’s a starting place for teachers (both general education and special education) to start a series of conversations about professional expectations in the classroom between both the teacher and paraeducator(s). The book also moves into behavior analysis and interventions, providing concrete examples of academic adaptations, and ultimately how to give students independence.
We found this book to be a good resource. We can only imagine the power of combining this with ParaEducate and from there, the teamwork that would be created on a campus could easily be unstoppable. “Paraprofessionals & Teachers Working Together” is available starting 8/18.
While I have you here…
You may be wondering what’s on our list this year for blog posts. We’ve been working on a series of strategies for academics and behaviors. We have an interview with Renay, the Co-Founder of ParaEducate and her professional life. But always for the first month, expect our beginning of the school year tips.
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations