Paraprofessionals play a vital role in the classroom.
After many years of working with different paras, I quickly realized that not all paraprofessionals have the same level of experience and teaching background as others. I also realized that their expectations and my expectations for their role in the classroom sometimes varied greatly.
As the teacher, it was my duty to support them and make sure that they understood what I expected while giving them the tools to succeed. From IEP information to calendars to accommodation checklists and more, there was so much I wanted to share with them to make both of our jobs easier.
Instead of handing out the pages one at a time or throwing everything in a file folder and hoping for the best, I created a Paraprofessional Binder that included everything they needed to know.
What is the Paraprofessional Binder?
Since I wanted to include everything in one easy to reference place, I made the Para Binder fit for a three-ring binder. This made it so much easier for me to add information as it was necessary, and it gave my paras one place to find all of the information they needed about working in the classroom.
Since I like variety, I created different covers and made the pages editable so that I could adjust them for each para I worked with.
The forms also varied due to the para’s role. Still, some pages like the list of acronyms and the accommodation/modification cheat sheet were included in everyone’s binder. I really wanted to make sure that my paras not only felt included in the classroom, but that they felt knowledgeable about the students and their needs.
After I had sufficiently tested the Para Binder with my co-workers, I decided to offer it as a resource for other teachers.
What’s in the Para Binder?
As I mentioned, I included various forms because no two situations or paras are the same. I have found that being over-prepared and giving a lot of organized information is better than leaving out important details.
To that end, the Para Binder includes 84 pages total, with 27 of them being editable or able to have customized wording based on your school and circumstances. The Support Staff Binder includes:
- 10 editable Binder covers
- 1″, 1.5″, 2″, and 2.5″ editable binder spine labels
- 28 binder divider pages (plus an editable one to add more yourself!)
- Table of Contents (PDF + editable)
- Expectation + Duty Lists/Recommendations
- List of Acronyms
- IEP at a Glance + Student Snapshot
- Cleaning Schedule Chart
- Prompting Hierarchy Poster
- Accommodation / Modification Cheat Sheet
- Para report, observation form, and FBA questionnaire
- Accommodation Checklist
- and more!
The wide selection of forms makes the binder equally as helpful for substitute teachers, support staff, and therapists who work in your room.
What Others Think About the Para Binder
I have used the Paraprofessional Binder for many years, so I always like to see how it works for others. You can check out all of the reviews (over 600 of them!) here, but here are some of the most helpful.
“I absolutely love this. My paras were always asking for more guidance, and I just could not find time to meet with them. This has been so helpful for them to refer back to and then ask questions if they still have them.”
“My teaching assistants LOVED this binder! They found it extremely helpful in our self-contained class! It’s also a great resource for when we have subs in the classroom. Thank you!”
“My paraprofessional loved this binder! She loved that she was able to quickly find information about our students. This binder lets me, the teacher, put in important information in the IEP. This is a lot easier than having the para go through each of the students’ entire IEP.”
“I’ve needed something so that I could help my paras stay informed of my expectations since every year, I seem to be assigned a new person. This is so helpful!”
“This was my first year with a para. This binder really helped both of us – it helped me organize my expectations and helped them understand them.”
Find the paraprofessional binder here.
How you use the Para Binder is up to you, but when you use it to organize expectations and information, it can be the time and sanity saver that every Special Ed teacher needs!