Problem in self-contained class.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by imissjerryg, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2014

    I am a special educator in a high school self-contained, center-based program. I have 17 students with varying disabilities and a wide spectrum of learners. Right now, I only have two paras but am about to get two more. I have asked my paras to document behaviors when they are in electives by using behavior tracking forms and old fashioned pencil and paper. I have one para who is consistently forgetting to document target behaviors which are pretty serious (leaving the classroom and/or building). Also, he constantly leaves his binder I provided him with the forms and information about how to track behavior all over common areas and general ed classes in the school. I have given him probably 20 verbal reminders along with around 10 written reminders. It is also such a big issue that we have had a meeting with admin about it. It is his 8th week and every time I remind him and tell him how important it is, he becomes combative and tells me I am being negative even though I have not been negative at all. I simply state the facts and my concerns. He actually told me today that he is the one who "works with the kids all day and my job ain't all that bad". He keeps crossing professional lines and seems to think that he does not have to follow my instruction at all. When I told him this is one thing that cannot be really changed or altered, he said that he thinks anything can be changed. How do I get him to realize how important this stuff is? I've told him the seriousness of sped law and even printed multiple resources for him to use. This seems to be going nowhere. Help!
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 25, 2014

    If he is losing anything with student information in or on it, that can open up the district - or at least the para - to violating the confidentiality of the students involved. If he's been a problem for eight weeks without improvement - maybe being a para is not what he should be doing until he gets a bit better at keeping track of things?
     
  4. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2014

    This is what I'm thinking. He just always has an excuse like "I'm working on personal growth so it's taking me time. You have to be patient with me" That's an inadequate excuse for consistently losing and misplacing such important information in my opinion. :/
     
  5. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I have been documenting everything and admin is currently investigating. I just think he is in the wrong place. He told me he wants to be a general ed para anyway... but this district definitely doesn't allocate funds for high school gen ed paras.
     
  6. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Oct 25, 2014

    Good. Document everything. He is there to do a job. He is coming up with excuses for not doing what he is paid to do.

    Some or all of those student behaviors are safety issues. It becomes an issue of accountability and liability. "What was done to help my child?" The para has crummy excuses and is in the wrong job. Document everything to protect yourself and do what you can to get rid of him. If something happens to a child under his supervision and there has been no documentation or record keeping, well...
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2014

    I agree that you need to continue to involve admin. Paras tend to take their jobs a little more seriously when they get called to sit down with admin than when it's just the sped teacher getting after them... or such is my personal experience. I've involved a principal in problems with two of my paras in the past. In both cases, things improved. One got her act together (for the most part), and the other quit, which was really in her best interest and that of the school.

    I addition, I think you may need to reflect on what you're asking him to do and how much support/training you've provided. A "binder... with the forms and information about how to track behavior all over common areas and general ed classes in the school" seems like it could be very daunting. Do you really need him to carry around and use a whole binder? I required my paras (and classroom teachers) to document behaviors when I was a sped teacher, too. However, my documentation form for most students was a single file folder with a paper stapled to each side of the inside of the folder. One paper had clear directions and a variety of codes specifying specific behaviors, and the other paper was a sheet on which to mark those codes for an entire week. Although it initially looked overwhelming, I had a lot more success getting paras and teachers to fill out these forms than anything I had tried before..... and I had better data to report on.

    I'm not saying there is anything wrong with your system. I'm just saying it's always wise to reflect on our own practices before assuming someone else is incompetent at their job. And, with that said, perhaps this para is just incompetent at this particular task. Since you have two and potentially four paras, take a look at their individual strengths and weaknesses. If this para is really incapable of accomplishing this task, it may be helpful to reassign duties so that he is not responsible for behavior data. Assign another para to that task, and assign him to something he is capable of doing.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 25, 2014

    If he hasn't grown, his personal growth time is over. You aren't asking anything that is difficult or excessive. It seems that this job is just not in his skillset.

    It is very possible that he doesn't have the ability to do the job he is being asked to do. He may have thought when applying for a job as a para that the job was much different than it really is. Maybe there is a different para job in the school that matches his skillset better and someone in that job that is suited to work with your kids.

    I agree with bros. If he is missing documentation, the school can be in trouble if this is documentation used to show progress on IEPs.
     
  9. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I'm sorry. I wasn't clear in my post. I meant to say the binder has forms and brief explanations for him to remember how to do the documentation and he keeps forgetting it in the common areas and general education classes. The information in the binder doesn't have to be kept in there; he is just really unorganized and keeps shoving old papers in his binder. I could give him a file folder. He wants to just carry around a piece of paper with nothing covering it. I keep telling him that this stuff is confidential but he doesn't seem to understand. It is very frustrating having to explain the same thing over and over again :( Thanks for your advice. I have reflected on my practices and really have scoured the internet trying to find good checklists and duties that are concise because I do have a tendency to get really detailed. Do you have any checklists or anything I could look at for examples?
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 26, 2014

    Sure, I'd be happy to share what I used to use. Feel free to edit it to meet your needs. I created this one, but it is based on (and practically mirrors) a data collection sheet I used previously at a school for ED students who were too severe to be in the regular school setting. I consider it a working a document and continually modify it to meet my needs. So, please feel free to do that same yourself.

    Edit: I can't figure out how to attach it to this post. If you PM me your email address though, I'd be happy to email it to you. :)
     
  11. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    You are so awesome bella84! Thank you! Do you think you could also send a checklist for para duties and responsibilities? I have literally googled stuff for hours and am just having a hard time coming up with one. I'll pm you!
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I don't think I have anything like that for paras, at least not in the general sense. I would typically just create an individualized detailed daily schedule, and within that I would add in duties (such as checking in student folders, doing an observation for data collection, taking a student to the bathroom, doing a sensory diet, etc.) at specific times of the day. That way they had no excuse for not doing a particular task at the right time, because it was all laid out in the schedule. I can send you one as an example, if you'd like, but I'll need to remove all of the students' names first. Let me know if you want it. Again, it would be just an example for an individual para as opposed to a general list of duties for all paras.
     

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