Paraprofessionals at alternative schools: Professional development needs for inclusive settings
There are unique challenges to providing special education services in alternative schools, such as managing student behavior and implementing modifications and accommodations in general education classrooms. Teachers of students with disabilities need specialized knowledge and skills to address these challenges (Benedict, Park, Bettini, & Lauterbach, 2014). The same can be inferred for paraprofessionals working in alternative schools. In general, the use of paraprofessional support for students with disabilities in inclusive settings has increased over the years (Cobb, 2007; Giangreco, 2013). Often times these students exhibit academic and behavioral challenges. There have been studies that report paraprofessionals working with students with academic and behavioral challenges have little training to do so effectively (Breton, 2010; Giangreco, 2013). The purpose of this study was to examine the classroom management responsibilities and professional development needs of paraprofessionals working with secondary students with disabilities in inclusive settings at alternative schools.