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Results-Oriented Job Descriptions: What is an ROJD?

What Is A Job Description?

A job description is a formalized statement of the qualifications and duties of a job. Job descriptions clarify who is responsible for certain tasks and help the employee understand the specific responsibilities of the position. They may include information on working conditions, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed to do the job, and relationships with other positions and employees.

Currently, job descriptions for many paraeducators, if they exist at all, are inaccurate and written without employee involvement. They are often nothing more that a "posting notice" for hiring, or a document used by supervisors as part of disciplinary procedures.

Of those paraeducators who have a job description, 54 percent believe that it does not accurately describe the amount of work they do, and 27 percent think it does not accurately describe what they do. Forty-three percent of paraeducators have no say about their job descriptions, and one quarter have no job description at all!

What Is A Results-Oriented Job Description (ROJD)?

A results-oriented job description (ROJD) does more than describe what a paraeducator does (the tasks). It also describes what the paraeducator accomplishes (the results). Administrations, supervisors, employees, parents, and the entire community can recognize success when it's defined in terms of potential outcomes. The ROJD identifies for employees and supervisors how the duties or tasks required of a job improve student achievement. It builds the connection between the paraeducator's work and the mission of the school. And by focusing a job description on the results of the work, the community can understand and appreciate what the paraeducator does. By using results-oriented job descriptions to describe the accomplishments of paraeducator, the Association can highlight the importance of the paraeducators' role in enhancing student achievement and advocate for accurate and meaningful job evaluations, a fair wage and salary structure, and relevant professional development for employees.

Traditional Job Descriptions and Results-Oriented Job Descriptions: What's the Difference?

Traditional job descriptions written by supervisors and administrators are usually oriented towards "behaving well on the job," emphasizing only those competencies and qualifications necessary to "do the job." Supervisors and administrators rarely do the kind of careful analysis necessary to write an accurate, relevant, and up-to-date job description. They must be made aware of changes in the work, the reality of the work, and the evolution of that job.

A traditional job description states tasks to be done such as, "provide a secure environment for students and staff." Any campus monitor can attest that there's much more to that "task" than meets the eye. It involves maintaining order in the hallways, assisting staff and law enforcement officers, identifying physical hazards that endanger students and staff, and many other actions. A job description that calls for a campus monitor to merely "provide a secure environment" is incomplete.

A results-oriented job description, on the other hand, is comprehensive and all-inclusive. It accurately reflects who paraeducators really are and what they really do. The ROJD…

  • places the focus on what is really important, the result.
  • is positive, active, and provides for career growth.
  • is free of employee discipline and behavior references.
  • builds the bridge between job descriptions and job evaluations.
  • defines the evolution of job performance.
  • provides the vehicle for meaningful and appropriate professional development.
  • is a key way for the member, the local, the administration and the community to focus on and succeed at "enhancing student achievement."

Why Should the Local Association Advocate for Results-Oriented Job Descriptions?

The Results-Oriented Job Description approach strengthens the local by creating an atmosphere of advocacy for the members. When attention is paid to how jobs are defined and how employees are evaluated, the local can be more inclusive and the members can be more successful in their jobs.

The ROJD process…

  • is positive and proactive.
  • benefits every member.
  • enhances job security.
  • shows members the Association is working for them.

Membership Development Program

An ROJD Action Plan for the local is separate from negotiations and maintenance. It requires planning and long-range activity. The local association's ROJD Committee conducts one-on-one interviews with every paraeducator in the district. The local develops, implements, communicates, and drives the program for the membership.
Anti-Privatization Action Plan

When employees become identified and personalized and the daily work they do is recognized, it is difficult for the board to marginalize or trivialize them, or privatize their jobs. Job security is greatly enhanced through contact, recognition, and definition of each and every person who works in the school district.
Negotiations Support Program

A local association that has accurate information about every job in the unit is in a stronger position when it comes to bargaining new contract provisions for ESP. 

Benefits of Results-Oriented Job Descriptions

For Members

  • Create a strong professional identity
  • Provide for improved communication between employees and supervisors
  • Encourage the formation of appropriate professional development programs
  • Increase job security

For Local Associations

  • Provide an opportunity to create and enhance dialogue with the administration, the school board, and the community about the need for clear job responsibilities for paraeducators
  • Produce concrete evidence of the value of paraeducators' work when Associations advocate for improved salary, benefits, and working conditions
  • Help teachers and other ESP better understand the critical role paraeducators play in educating students

For the Community

  • Create understanding throughout the system and the broader community about the value of the work accomplished by paraeducators
  • Enhance the work identity and professionalism of paraeducators
  • Stimulate discussion about the critical role paraeducators have in improving student achievement

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