Doing the Math with Paraeducators: Enhancing and Expanding and Sustaining a Professional Development Model in PreK to Grade 3 Math Classrooms (2021)
Addressing mathematics professional development (PD) needs of PreK-3 paraeducators is critical, as their numbers continue to rise, and their duties expand beyond routine and clerical tasks. Paras often provide academic support in early math skills, which can be powerful predictors of academic achievement for students.
Prior Work: The video you will see is from our exploratory project through which staff developed and tested a PD model, responsive to paras’ working in a diverse urban district. Results of the twenty-three participants showed increased confidence and involvement in math instruction, greater facility using inquiry-based math resources, and improved strategies for supporting student thinking and addressing math learning challenges. Overall, there was a notable shift as paras moved from a monitoring role to an educator role, indicating the potential for opening pathways to teaching for these educators and diversifying the teaching pool.
This exploratory research resulted in our current project with Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in which we are collaborating with educators in two diverse urban districts, Boston, MA Public Schools, and Indianapolis, IN Metropolitan School District Washington Township. We are researching how well the project creates professional learning communities, influences para instructional practice, and develops para-mentors and teachers who support their colleagues. Our outcomes research is designed to capture longitudinal change in paraeducator confidence, mathematics pedagogical content knowledge and sense of teaching efficacy. Findings will also identify ways in which to create pathways that support para entry into teaching careers and leadership roles.
- PI Judy Storeygard
- Co-PIs Karen Mutch Jones, Audrey Martinez-Gudapakkam, Brandon Sorge (IU-PUI)
- Senior Staff: Sabrina De Los Santos, Sophia Raymond
- Project Coordinator: Sarah Hill
- Professional Development Specialist: Connie Henry