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Guidelines for LEAs to determine if a paraeducator meets Option A: two years of college under NCLB and Title I requirements for paraeducators



Instructional Paraeducators

Option A: Complete two years of study at an institution of higher education

How Can Local Education Agencies Determine Two Years of Postsecondary Study?

Decision Making Guidelines for Local Education Agencies

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) permits paraeducators who serve in instructional assistance capacities three (3) options to demonstrate qualifications in order to be hired after January 8, 2002, into programs supported with Title I funds and for existing paraeducators to demonstrate qualifications by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year. The Education Alert distributed by the New Hampshire Department of Education, June 10, 2003 identifies which paraeducators must meet the new requirements and a description of the options available.

What steps are recommended to determine the equivalency of completion of two years of college?

The Center for Paraeducator Professional Development (CPPD) will review paraeducator post secondary coursework and make a determination of completion of two years of college at no cost to local education agencies or;

The local education agency may make the determination. If the LEA is making the determination, the following steps are offered to assist in the decision process

Step 1 The Paraeducator presents supporting documentation (official transcripts) of college courses and;

Step 2 Transcripts are from a regionally accredited "institute of higher education". Section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) defines an institute of higher education (definition attached) and; (go to Step 3)

* Course work completed at colleges without regional accreditation should be evaluated on an individual basis. (CPPD is available to assist in this determination).

Step 3 Courses are not remedial or developmental and are;

  • credit bearing and:
  • completed with a grade C or better and;
  • applicable to degree requirements at the institution offering the course and;

Step 4 The total number of courses is equal to two years of full time study. In general, full time study is considered to be a course load of twelve (12) or fifteen (15) credit hours per semester or quarter. Therefore, the equivalent of two years of full time study would be a minimum of either:

  • 48 semester hours or;
  • 72 quarter hours

Step 5 The course(s) of study meet the NCLB Title I, Part A requirement that the paraeducator should be able to demonstrate knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing in the areas of reading, writing, and math, or in "school readiness" [section 119(c)(1)(C)].

  • If steps 1-5 are met. The paraeducator fully meets the requirements of Option A.

Definition of Institution of Higher Education

"Section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) defines an "institution of higher education" as an educational institution in any State that

1) Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;

2) Is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;

3) Provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree;

4) Is a public or other non-profit institution; and,

5) Is accredited by a national recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted pre-accreditation by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of pre-accreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.

This definition applies to the statutory language on the educational preparation of Title I paraprofessionals."

Lynda Thistle Elliott
(603) 271-3840
Lynda.ThistleElliott@doe.nh.gov

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711