Impact Feature Issue on Volunteerism by Persons with Developmental Disabilities

From the Editors

Note: This document has been archived because some of the information it contains is out of date. (Effective June 2009)

As the educational environment has changed over the past five decades, so have the roles, responsibilities, training, supervision needs, and expectations in relation to those educational personnel originally called "teacher aids" and today referred to as "paraeducators." Today's paraeducators play a much more involved role in instruction than was the case when they were introduced roughly 50 years ago. In addition, with the movement by students with disabilities into inclusive classrooms, paraeducators have become key to the education and participation of those students alongside their nondisabled peers. And paraeducators have become an integral part of school efforts to meet the needs of increasingly diverse learners in a climate of teacher shortages and often-tightening budgets. This issue ofImpact addresses the growing role of paraeducators by describing some of the challenges to that role and offering some guidance and success stories from around the country in the key areas of training, teamwork, supervision, and paraprofessional development. We hope that readers will find ideas and resources in this issue that can help improve the educational infrastructures used to prepare and support paraeducators in their locales, and to enhance the delivery of quality education to our children.