• IU 29 recognizes several ways to determine Highly Qualified Status for a paraprofessional
    • Highly Qualified status must be obtained within 3 months of hire date to continue employment.
    • Proof of the Highly Qualified status can be demonstrated in the following ways: (only 1 item required)

                               (i) Have completed at least 2 years of postsecondary study.

    (ii) Possess an associate degree or higher.

                               (iii) Meet a rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated through a State or local assessment.


    Proof of Highly Qualified status must be presented to the Program Supervisor and will be placed in their personnel file.


     Questions and Answers Regarding Qualifications and "Rigorous Standard of Quality as Demonstrated through a State or Local Assessment".

    Will the state or local assessment be more than a test? If so, give examples Will the credential program offered by PDE via PaTTAN satisfy the requirements?


    The current Pennsylvania Special Education Paraeducator Credential of Competency will satisfy the requirement. It is based on ten performance-based standards identified by The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as necessary for a special education paraeducator to know or be able to so in order to work effectively with students in special education programs. PDE has endorsed the use of these ten CEC performance-based standards and their corresponding required knowledge and skills, as they define the basic content for the initial preparation and practice of special education paraeducators# Training covers a broad range of topics, such as the special education process, including assessment and progress monitoring, supporting the use of assistive technology in the classroom, effective behavior management and supporting students in inclusive settings.

    The performance-based standards include statements of the knowledge and skills needed by paraeducators to work successfully in educational environments. Any "rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated through a state or local assessment" should at a minimum address the ten standards (below). If the employing entity uses a local assessment, it is to be based on the ten standards and reflected in the entity's Special Education Plan or Early Intervention Training Plan.
    No specific approval from PDE is needed for the local assessment.

        •    Standard #1: Foundations of Special Education
        •    Standard #2: Development and Characteristics of Learners
        •    Standard #3: Individual Learning Differences
        •    Standard #4: Instructional Strategies
        •    Standard #5: Learning Environments and Social Interactions
        •    Standard #6: Language
        •    Standard #7: Instructional Planning
        •    Standard #8: Assessment
        •    Standard #9: Professional and Ethical Practice
        •    Standard #10: Collaboration

             These rigorous standards of quality, as demonstrated through a state or local assessment, are detailed in the materials and resources available on the PaTTAN Website and
             may be accessed at http://www.pattan.net/

             Credential of competency webinars are available at http://pattan.framewelder.com. It is located at the bottom of the page.  Copy of the certificate of each webinar must be turned in for credit toward the 20 hours.

    How does PDE plan to address paraprofessionals moving in from out of state? What if an individual passed some sort of requirement in another state; will there be reciprocity?

             This is a matter for local discretion and will not be addressed by the Department# The local public entity would have discretion to determine whether previous training would
              count toward the 20 hour staff development requirement, and whether previous credits or credentials would meet the "rigorous standard".

    Do the paraprofessional qualifications apply to substitute paraprofessionals? If so what is their timeline?

             This is a matter of local discretion; however PDE will encourage local entities to consider the length of time for which the person is substituting in making this determination.

    When a school district or other public entity uses different terminology and job titles than those described in the regulations, do theregulations apply to those different names# and titles?       
             Districts, staff, and other public entities should not rely on their own specific titles, but compare what the individual does in the position to the definitions and instructional
             paraprofessional and personal care assistant, as outlined in Section 14#105# Individuals whose job descriptions match those definitions must satisfy the requirements.
    Must every instructional paraprofessional have completed two years of post secondary education by 2012?
             By July 1, 2010, there is an option to take two years of post secondary education, complete an Associate's Degree, or meet a rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated
             through a state or local assessment. PDE has determined that 48 credit hours would constitute two years of post secondary education as described in Section 14.105.