• Please note:The term “public entity” is used in this document and includes school districts, intermediate units, and Mutually Agreed Upon Written Agreements (MAWA) Agencies.

    Questions and Answers Regarding 20 Hours of Staff Development

      • When does the 20 hour staff development requirement begin?
        Twenty hours of staff development would be required between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, and each school year thereafter while the individual is employed in the role of paraprofessional.
         
      • Are public entities expected to offer the 20 hours of staff development that is required for instructional paraprofessionals and personal care assistants?
        The intent is for the public entity which employs the paraprofessionals to be responsible for providing the 20 hours of staff development on an annual basis; because the training must be “related to the assignment,” the employing agency is best suited to ensure the training will be relevant to the assignment.
         
      • Must each school district and other public entity provide the training directly? Will PDE offer staff development
        through PaTTAN for paraprofessionals to meet the 20 hour requirement?
        The decision on who will provide the staff development to paraprofessionals is a matter for local discretion. There are a number of options an employer may utilize to provide this professional development, including arranging for intermediate units or other consortiums to provide the staff development or participation in appropriate PaTTAN staff development offerings. Additionally, PDE via PaTTAN, will continue to offer staff development for paraprofessionals. These programs have been, and will continue to be, developed to assist employers in providing high quality staff development to paraprofessionals.
         
      • Will a statewide record-keeping system be organized for tracking the 20 hours of staff development, or will this be a
        local responsibility? Will paraprofessionals show documentation of 20 hours to the state or to the employer?
        There will not be a statewide tracking system of the 20 hour staff development requirement. The public entity which
        employs the paraprofessional will need to set up a system to track the hours during 2008–2009 and each school year thereafter. The paraprofessional will be required to show documentation of 20 hours to the employing public entity
        annually.
         
      • Will meetings to coordinate ACCESS paperwork and learn the documentation process be considered appropriate
        professional development hours for personal care assistants for this 20-hour requirement?
        No, the time spent in training on paperwork and
        documentation does not fall within the intent of the requirement for 20 hours of
        staff development related to the assignment. However, time spent in training in
        CPR and First Aid, as required by the School-Based ACCESS Program, are
        appropriate for this requirement.
         
      • Must the public entity receive state level approval of the staff development to be offered?
        No. However, the public entity is to include in its special education plan or Early Intervention Training Plan the activities to address the staff development requirement. The Department of Education will define the format and content for
        the plan.
         
      • How will PDE address the issue of paraprofessionals who are instructional or personal care aides who stop working
        for reasons such as military service, maternity/child bearing or child rearing leave, disability or long term illness?
        Beginning with the 2008–2009 school year, the 20 hours must be met by individuals who are employed in the
        role of instructional paraprofessional, personal care assistant, and educational interpreter for that year. If, for an entire school year, an individual is not employed/working in this role, for example, when the individual takes a one year
        leave of absence for military service or child rearing leave, the individual would not be required to show evidence of meeting the 20 hour requirement for that school year.
         
      • Does the 20 hour staff development requirement apply to substitute paraprofessionals?
        Whether the requirement for 20 hours of staff development applies to substitute paraprofessionals is a matter of local discretion. However, PDE encourages that consideration be given to the length of time for which the person is substituting in making this determination.
         
      • Does the 20 hour staff development requirement apply to instructional paraprofessionals and personal care
        assistants who:

     

      • Work in a special education classroom or Early Intervention program? — Yes
         
      • Provide one-to-one or other specific assistance in accordance with an IEP (in a general education classroom or
        preschool, special education or Early Intervention classroom or community-based setting)? — Yes
         
      • Work in a general education classroom or preschool with both regular and special education students? — No, unless specifically identified with a special education assignment
         

    This requirement was not intended for, and does not apply to, individuals whose role is to serve in a general education classroom with both regular and special education students, and who do not have any specific duties delineated in students' IEPs. If such individuals fall into the category of Title I paraprofessionals, the Title I requirements would apply.