High-Quality PD for Paraprofessionals in Timberlane Regional School District


This case study comes from District Administration’s Special Report on Professional Development, which was originally published in February 2018.

High Quality PD for ParaprofessionalsTwo years ago, Elizabeth Rincon was seeking to end the last-minute scramble to cull professional development for approximately  125 special education paraprofessionals on days when teachers had preplanned PD.

“Principals had to either swiftly get something together for paraprofessionals in terms of PD or they would email me and I would have to quickly plan a PD module,” says Rincon, director of special education for Timberlane Regional School District in southern New Hampshire.

On-Demand PD for Paraprofessionals

Rincon came across the Vector Training, Special Education (formerly Exceptional Child) Professional Development System, which provides online, on-demand access to targeted special education professional development courses for administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals.

With the Vector Training, Special Education System, administrative staff spend less time organizing training and searching for affordable, effective PD. The system also provides administrators with training on special education laws and important safety topics, such as restraint and seclusion.

General education teachers access video-based courses on topics such as autism or how to collaborate with the special education team. Vector Training, Special Education also supports professional growth with custom PD plans for individual educators.

Paraprofessionals gain knowledge and skills to better support special education students and to learn behavior management strategies to address a wide range of student needs. Rincon adds that the ability to assign courses to new and longtime paraprofessionals addresses important training and PD needs. “It’s a web-based system, so I sign up paraprofessionals when I hire then,” Rincon says. “The system sends new hires an invitation, they click on it and they get into the system.”

Positive Feedback

Rincon says Timberlane rolled out the Vector Training, Special Education System two years ago, in the middle of the school year, and it was a smooth process due to good two-way communication and feedback. Rincon adds that Vector Solutions wanted input from Timberlane and made improvements based on the district’s feedback. For instance, the Vector Training, Special Education System added new reporting capabilities to meet Timberlane’s specific needs.

The Vector Training, Special Education System proved to be an effective solution for the district’s “Blizzard Bag Days” that require staff to work four hours from home on selected snow days. Rincon says paraprofessionals can login from home, pick a course, take an assessment and print a certificate for proof that they actually worked that day. “This is a valuable feature for our district,” Rincon says.

Personalized PD

Rincon says one word that comes to mind about the Vector Training, Special Education System is “personalized.” She says that the system’s wide array of available content allows for personalization to cover all the special education PD needs in her district.

“To design professional development that meets everyone’s needs is challenging,” Rincon says. “The personalization of the Vector Training, Special Education System was a huge benefit. Paraprofessionals pick different modules every day. I love the range of professional development that’s on there.”

Want to Know More?

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