Lisa Owings is now working as a para educator 28 hours a week at a local mill valley school thanks to the Para Educator Certification Program that took place over this past summer. The training, developed by the Marin Office of Education (MCOE) in collaboration with the Marin Employment Connection (MEC), prepared participants like Owings with the skills necessary to work in a position as a special education para educator in public schools.
Owings said she learned a lot of valuable skills from the training, notably how to use visual icons and prompts with her autistic and non-verbal students.
“I love my job. It’s amazing to see such a difference in my students – even with just doing their ABCs with them,” Owings said. “The training was excellent and I highly recommend it because MCOE and MEC were very organized. Whoever thinks that they might be interested in education, I this is training is a good place to start.”
Para educators are present in most educational settings with the supervision of the teacher, having skills and contributions that make them a valuable member of the education team. Typical tasks include performing instructional activities planned by the student, giving the teacher feedback on students’ progress and assisting in clerical duties.
At the completion of the two-week intensive training, participants:
- Understood the roles and responsibilities of a special education para educator
- Developed skills to support special education student success
- Received training in health and safety procedures in the school environment
- Became certified in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training
- Gained valuable classroom experience working alongside experienced special educators.
“We are so thankful for this amazing collaboration between MCOE and the MEC because it helped fill our great need for para educators in the classroom,” said Raquel Rose, MCOE Assistant Superintendent. “We hope to continue this partnership in the future.”