For paraprofessionals who juggle a workload that includes focusing on dozens of specific students throughout the teaching day, making sure that all of the students they work with are having their needs met can be quite a challenge. At the secondary level, for example, paras often work with 2 to 3 teachers in the course of the day and classes ranging from 25 to 32 students per period.

Paraprofessionals - remember student needsThere is a way to make sure that as a paraprofessional, you’re meeting each student’s needs. During my time in the classroom, I worked with paras to develop a “cheat sheet” that would allow both of us to quickly look over a class and know exactly what students needed daily.

You can download a much more polished version of my original cheat sheet at the end of this post.

In our secondary-level classes, the paraprofessional would have up to 13 students on an IEP in each class. That meant in a single day, the para often had to remember the needs of 45 to 65 students total among the combined classes. So the cheat sheet was invaluable.

We developed a class list adaptations chart that listed each student (not by name, but with a special code) in the paraprofessional’s purview. The para could check off items along the chart next to each student to note specific needs, adaptations or accommodations that were made for that student.

By reviewing the chart each class, the teacher and para can quickly identify students who need extra time, or who need an oral test or other modified test. This saves time up front and allows the paraprofessional to tailor the time they spend with students so it’s meaningful and positive for everyone.

Here are some important points to remember regarding this chart:

  1.  At the top of the chart, in the row across each column, put a code for each student in the class who is on an IEP, 504 plan, RTI plan, etc. You might also put the student’s initials if you feel that the initials would not identify specific students to anyone but you. The key is to use a naming system that does not identify the student. If this chart was found by someone who did not have the right to know that students’ information, it would be a confidentiality violation.
  2.  After reading the IEP, check the items that apply to each specific student. At the end of this blog post are downloadable forms available to you through the download link provided. These forms are customizable, so you can create checklists that are specific to your students.
  3.  A data collection option is to put a date in the checkbox so that there is a record of any adaptations or accommodations that have been made for specific students and which day they were provided.

Just click on the button below to download the form, along with some other great resources for paraprofessionals:

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