A Study of the Current Training Procedures and Training Needs of Paraprofessionals in a Pre-K-12 Public School System in Rural New Jersey

Castorina, Adrienne
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The role of paraprofessionals in the public school system has changed drastically over the last 50 years. Although the state of New Jersey mandates that appropriate training be provided to paraprofessionals in public schools, it is not clearly defined. The purpose of this study is to gain an overall understanding of the training needs of paraprofessionals in public education in the state of New Jersey so that research-based training will be implemented. The study aims to provide quantifiable data demonstrating significance that will support a successful implementation. This study is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory as well as Fullan’s Educational Change Theory. The study sets out to identify the current training procedures and training needs for paraprofessionals in a rural New Jersey public school system as perceived by paraprofessionals, teachers, child study team members, and administrators, as well as if these perceptions of paraprofessionals, teachers, child study team members, and administrators that relate to the training procedures are significantly different in relation to the training needs of paraprofessionals. The research design consisted of a questionnaire/survey method that was distributed electronically. The 133 survey responses were analyzed using the chi-square test. Selection criteria included a convenience sample from a pre-K-12 public school district. Results indicated a statistically significant difference in perceived need compared to current procedures in five areas: initial training, ongoing training, training outside of the school setting, training on first aid and safety, and training on school policies. It is essential that training for paraprofessionals encompass these areas. Future research should include a longitudinal study once implementation occurs in addition to a qualitative study that surveys multiple stakeholders in the public schools in New Jersey. Implementation of this research-based training program will assist school administrators when planning for training. Paraprofessionals will receive the training they need to be successful in their roles in the public schools.
Adrienne Castorina Dissertation