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Special Ed Paras Need 20 Hours Prof Dev Each Year

On July 1, new Pennsylvania Regulations on Special Education (Chapter
14) went into effect. One of the most profound changes in those
regulations is the mandate that all paraprofessionals paid for by
special education monies obtain at least 20 hours of professional
development training each and every school year, said Nina
Esposito-Visgitis, vice president for the Pittsburgh Federation of

The state Department of Education and the state Board of Education
refused to make individual districts responsible for providing that
training, claiming that there are appropriate educational programs
provided for paraprofessionals through organizations such as PaTTAN
(Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network) at their
centers in Pittsburgh, King of Prussia or Harrisburg, or at various
downlink sites across the state.

In many districts, paraprofessionals also have the opportunity to
attend and to receive credit for district trainings offered to
teachers on in-service days or during non-school hours. Appropriate
university credits are also acceptable.

School districts are responsible for crafting how the
paraprofessionals that they employ receive approval for trainings,
and how they collect and report their hours. Further, it will be
solely up to the district to report the completion of hours for each
paraprofessional to the state during June of each year.

As an incentive, some districts are providing a form of payment to
the paraprofessionals who attend trainings during off-school hours,
but this is something that has to be negotiated, and be made part of
the Collective Bargaining Agreement for that local.

    The state intends to terminate paraprofessionals who fail to
acquire the 20 hours of training each year. It is strongly urged that
all of our paraprofessionals maintain their own records of their
professional development activities.

Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network
(PaTTAN) information is available below.

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