The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, requires that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) ensure that paraprofessionals hired with Title I funds or working in a Title I Schoolwide Program meet qualifications that were in place on the day before the date of enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Please Note: A paraprofessional is an employee of an LEA who provides instructional support in a program supported with Title I funds and works under the direct supervision of a teacher.
All paraprofessionals working in a schoolwide program or schoolwide building are considered Title I employees.
Districts must ensure that all paraprofessionals, who are required to do so, meet the qualifications required in Section 1111(g)(2)(m). Paraprofessionals required to meet highly qualified guidelines include those who provide instructional support and work under the direct supervision of a teacher in a Schoolwide building, without regard to how the position is funded. This also applies to those who work in a Targeted Assisted building and are paid in part or in full with Title I funds.
Paraprofessionals who provide instructional support include those who:
Provide one-on-one tutoring if such tutoring is scheduled at a time when a student would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher
Assist with classroom management, such as by organizing instructional materials
Provide instructional assistance in a computer laboratory
Provide instructional support in a library or media center
Because paraprofessionals provide instructional support, they should not be providing planned direct instruction, or introducing to students new skills, concepts, or academic content.
Individuals who work in food services, cafeteria or playground supervision, personal care services, non-instructional computer assistance, and similar positions are not considered paraprofessionals under Title I, Part A.
All Title I paraprofessionals must have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent. Additionally, paraprofessionals working in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds must have:
Completed two years of study at an institution of higher education (In Arkansas, 60 semester credit hours at a regionally accredited institution of higher education are required.) -or-
Obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree -or-
Met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics (or, as appropriate, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness) (In Arkansas, the formal test accepted is the Educational Testing Services (ETS) Parapro Assessment”; applicants must obtain a passing score of 457 on this test. A Child Development Associate (CDA) certification and hours of training are not acceptable substitutions for this requirement.)
A Child Development Associate (CDA) certification is only acceptable when the paraprofessional is employed in a preschool setting.
For more information, please contact:
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Mail Slot #26
Little Rock, AR 72201