PETALLs provides annual professional development for Paraprofessionals Teaching ELLs (ParaTELL). This professional development was collaboratively planned by UMass Lowell and LPS faculty with ongoing input from LPS paraprofessionals.
109 LPS paraprofessionals completed ParaTELL 1.0 in spring 2013. Six LPS teachers facilitated these workshops. Paraprofessionals learned valuable strategies to support the instruction of ELLs and received 15 PDPs for successfully completing this training.
ParaTELL 1.0 consists of four 2.5 hour modules:
- The role of the paraprofessional in working with ELLs, the academic achievement levels of District ELLs (differentiated by grade levels), common acronyms that paraprofessionals hear in the classroom, including ELL, ESL, SEI, World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA), etc.
- Second language acquisition theory and practice, academic language
- Vocabulary strategies, including how to select words to teach
- Assessment of language and content with ELLs.
ParaTELL 2.0 included extensive modeling of instructional support strategies and time for practicing these strategies. ParaTELL 2.0 was jointly developed by UMass and LPS faculty and staff in response to feedback from paraprofessionals. Sixty-two paraprofessionals successfully completed ParaTELL 2.0. These workshops were facilitated by the six LPS teachers who taught ParaTELL 1.0 and also collaborated on updating and developing the 2.0 manual drafts.
The updated PD series consists of five 2 hour modules:
- The Role of the Paraprofessional
- How ELLs Learn English for Academics and How Paraprofessionals Support that Learning
- Supporting ELLs’ Understanding and Acquisition of Academic Language
- Vocabulary Strategies That Paraprofessionals Can Use with ELLs
- Assessing ELLs’ Learning Based on Proficiency Levels
A cohort of paraprofessionals from the Community Day Arlington Elementary School are enrolled in ParaTELL 2.0 this fall.
ParaTELL 3.0 will be offered in spring 2015. Teachers and paraprofessionals will complete this PD together.