ParaPro Program Addresses Shortages with Classroom Assistant Training
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ParaPro Program Addresses Shortages with Classroom Assistant Training

ParaPro Program Addresses Shortages with Classroom Assistant Training

Now is the perfect time for anyone thinking about a career in education to pursue it. The importance of teachers and school staff was magnified during the pandemic, and today, Brevard County schools are in need of instructional assistants — education professionals who work in the classroom with students, directly impacting their learning. 

Brevard Public Schools’ (BPS) Adult and Community Education’s new ParaPro Instructional Education and Training (IET) program is a semester-long training designed to increase the number of instructional assistants in our classrooms. The program also serves as a pipeline to teacher training programs. 

Students working on their GED through the adult education department have the option to complete this training while obtaining their diploma. The department will even pay for students to take the paraprofessional assessment exam so they are able to go straight into the workforce upon graduation. BPS starting pay for instructional assistants is $13.08 per hour.

“Once they get their credentials, we put them in touch with schools so they can get employment right after graduation,” said Julie Sanders, administrator at the Titusville campus. ”From there, we are hoping they will go into a post-secondary teacher education program.” 

The adult education department also offers evening classes for members of the community already employed who may be looking for a career change. Brevard school administrators actively recruit current employees, such as custodians, cafeteria staff and aftercare workers, who may be looking to add credentials and move into the classroom.  

The IET course gives students academic support in order to pass the required exam. But it also gives background on best practices so when they enter the classroom, instructional assistants start day one knowing how to best help their students. 

Benefits to a career as an instructional assistant include competitive pay and benefits. The school-based schedule is family friendly for parents who have children in Brevard schools. 

“We do have both a teacher shortage and an instructional assistant shortage in Brevard, so we are trying to increase the number of teachers we have,” Sanders said. “We are trying to encourage people to go into these professions. This program is for anyone who wants to get into the school system and work directly with students.”

From the initial groups of students, three graduates earned positions with BPS, and two others have secured instructional assistant positions elsewhere.

 

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