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Using Highest-Qualified Staff for 1:1 Support

Leveraging paraprofessionals for multi-tiered systems of instructional support

Overview

In many traditional school settings, paraprofessionals are often leveraged to support small-group and one-on-one learning and intervention while main classroom teachers support the large group of students. Realizing that students may have gaps in mastery as a result of unfinished learning time, school leaders at Hopkins Public Schools chose to leverage the district’s most qualified teachers to support intervention rather than following the traditional model of using paraprofessionals for this kind of instructional support.

“Site teams are really the drivers of teaching and learning and of what those plans might look like at the individual buildings.” - Ann Ertl, Interim Director of Innovation, Design, and Learning at Hopkins Public Schools

Approach

School leaders across the district requested to be able to shift their on-campus paraprofessional roles to focus on other types of instructional support aside from intervention, such as overseeing independent learning and student work time. In response, the district office provided paraprofessional support to schools so that they could focus on moving their most qualified teachers to work with those students requiring one-on-one and targeted small-group learning. Leaders also explored increasing class sizes in areas where students needed less support as well as exploring blended learning models to free up additional teacher capacity to continue to provide targeted one-on-one and small-group instruction and intervention.