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Special Education Paraprofessionals

Paraprofessionals are important members of the classroom community and they provide valuable support to students and teachers on a daily basis.

This job classification profile page includes specific information about Special Education Paraprofessionals and resources we hope you will find valuable. Our District offers continuous recruitment for substitute Special Education Paraprofessionals. Permanent vacancies within this job classification can be viewed anytime by visiting Edjoin: www.edjoin.org.





All paraprofessional applicants must meet the following requirements:
1.    Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent; and
2.    Two years of college (48 units); or
3.    An A.A. degree (or higher), or
4.    Pass a local assessment of knowledge or skills that demonstrates the equivalent of the above requirements. Links to study resources are provided below.

Level II Special Education Paraprofessionals are also required to possess First Aid/CPR Certification.

Q & A – A Teacher’s Perspective


Cindy Rodgers has been a special education teacher with the South San Francisco Unified School District for over 17 years and has taught in both mild/moderate and moderate/severe classroom environments. Over the years she has worked alongside between 2-4 paraprofessionals in her classroom. She was asked to give a teacher’s perspective on the valuable role paraprofessionals play in our schools. 

Q: Please describe the typical duties of a special education paraprofessional.    
•    Supervision and safety of students at recess, school-wide activities, field trips, in the classroom, etc.
•    Teach play skills at recess through student participation in recess activities with General Ed. peers.
•    Mainstreaming support during G.E. classes or activities: Facilitate and supervise participation in G.E. classes and activities; implement adaptations so student can participate with G.E. peers; provide G.E. peers with guidance and modeling as to how to include their friend.
•    Implement behavior support strategies, whether individual or classroom, on a consistent basis.
•    Join in whole group activities while providing non-disruptive engagement of students.
•    Implement assigned whole and/or small group lessons. Lesson plans, modeling, and check-ins provided.
•    Complete assigned preparation work when time is allowed.
•    Toilet students and/or toilet train students.
•    Work collaboratively and professionally with classroom adults.

Q: What significant contributions do paraprofessionals make in the classroom?
•    Amazing support. There is so much happening in the classroom. The paraprofessional helps keep the class moving when the teacher is addressing other areas of student learning, such as programming a communication device, working 1:1 with a student, testing, checking in with support service personnel, etc. The classroom could not function without them.
•    Sees the student for who he/she is and not for the disability. Sees the potential in each student and is committed to developing it.
•    Another set of eyes and ideas. Great support to bounce ideas off of and develop strategies to best meet students’ learning and development.

Q: What advice do you have for someone considering work as a Special Education paraprofessional?
•    Be flexible. Every day is different based on student needs.
•    Be alert and aware at all times when working with students. Their safety is your number one priority.
•    Ask questions.  
•    Ask for help.
•    Be open and willing to learn.
•    Be consistent. Always follow through.
•    Pay attention to the big picture.    
•    Develop student independence.  Always have them do for themselves or teach them how to do it even if it involves modifications.