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Paraprofessionals and Teachers Team Up in the Classroom



Education is a team effort, and for classrooms with a teacher and paraprofessional team, this is especially true. 

Paraprofessionals, commonly referred to as “paras” work in classrooms and collaborate with teachers to help perform teaching-related tasks. Essentially, teachers create lesson plans for their students and paraprofessionals work alongside them to help execute those lesson plans.  

Paraprofessionals can be found supporting students and teachers in a variety of settings including general education classrooms, special support classes (RSP), and special day classes (SDC). 

Shari Duval, a SDC paraprofessional at Brock Elliot shared that outside of assisting during general instruction, a typical day as a paraprofessional involves helping students understand lessons, answering any questions they may have, and working with small groups on language arts, math, and reading. Some students might need extra help learning sight words, while others might need help with addition by using more hands-on elements. Mrs. Duval works closely with SDC teacher Sharon France-Marquis to support student success. “[Sharon] will let me know what we’re doing, what the project is, what the materials are, and if there’s any preparation I can help with,” said Mrs. Duval.   

“Teachers and paras, we really are a team,” shares Mrs. France-Marquis, “we have a tag-team effect, and it really helps the kids be successful.”   Being in a classroom is nothing new to Mrs. Duval, she spent many years volunteering in her children’s classrooms and felt that becoming a paraprofessional was a natural progression to move into the classroom and do what she loves, helping students. “I enjoy when I can really see a student is understanding the materials that you’re showing them. Sometimes you go over the same thing many times and then it finally clicks and they’re getting it! It’s very rewarding to know that you’ve helped them learn something new.” 

Paraprofessionals can play a critical role in a student’s success, working with teachers to provide students with targeted support. There are many paraprofessionals throughout MUSD making an impact just like Shari Duval.  

A collage of paras working with students

Rachel Molina is an RSP paraprofessional at McParland Elementary School and has been working as a paraprofessional for 13 years. She mentioned that her ability to make an impact on a student’s educational experience has been most rewarding, “I always wanted to be a teacher, and as a paraprofessional you get your own group of students. Many kids don’t have a lot of support at home or have struggled most of their life in school. We work to give them the confidence in school and get their work completed.” 
“Teachers and paraprofessionals, we really are a team,” shares Mrs. France-Marquis, “we have a tag-team effect, and it really helps the kids be successful.”   

Mrs. France-Marquis knows this well because she was once a paraprofessional herself, “Being a paraprofessional initially is what inspired me to become a teacher because I thought, ‘You know what? I’m really learning a lot, even from the kids. I’m making a legitimate contribution to someone’s life’ and I wanted to go to the next level.”  

Looking to make an impact? MUSD is currently hiring paraprofessionals at!