Personal Story

Impact Feature Issue on Volunteerism by Persons with Developmental Disabilities

A Valued Paraprofessional


Valyn Anderson Paraprofessional, Preston School District, Preston, Idaho.

I have been a paraprofessional in the Preston School District for 17 years. During that time, I have worked in Special Education and in Speech/Language Pathology. I believe that as a paraprofessional I make it possible for teachers to do a better job with students. My relationship with teachers has changed over the years. Now, teachers view paraprofessionals as an important part of the educational system. Paraprofessionals are no longer just a pair of extra hands, but an indispensable part of the instructional program. I feel more valued now by parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with students. It is a privilege to work under the direction of trained and dedicated professionals. I feel that our relationship is one of two professionals working together to enhance the quality of education for students. 

I have received extensive training during my years in the Preston School District. Training experiences include instructional team work training from Utah State University, Precision Teaching training, MANDT training by Logan Regional Hospital, a video training entitled, “Enhancing the Skills of Paraeducators,” and training in reading and math instruction. I have also learned to collect data and deliver instruction to assist students in both academic and social growth. I love kids, and being able to work with them as a paraprofessional is an added bonus.