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Early Career Supports

Orientation Programs

Orienting paraeducators to their careers through school district pre-service training is critical. Prior to beginning work with students, paraeducators should receive an orientation. Such pre-service training should include information about job responsibilities, district policies, and other relevant information.



Before Working With Students


New paraeducator orientation prior to working with students should include:

  • Paraeducator roles and responsibilities
  • District overview
  • District policies and procedures
  • District educational jargon
  • Confidentiality
  • Safety and emergency procedures
  • Employment or contract information



First Days at the Worksite


During the first several days at the worksite, paraeducators should be provided with the following orientation training:

  • Introduction to building site policies
  • Review of procedures and services
  • Opportunity to observe and work alongside a mentor in the same position (job shadowing)
  • Introduction to classroom curricula, rules, and procedures
  • School behavior management plan
  • Specific student information

Examples of Orientation Programs – Coming soon!


Mentoring Programs

NEA believes that mentoring programs enhance the professional expertise of members and assist in retaining quality staff. Strong mentoring programs for early career and beginning paraeducators are an effective professional development approach, especially when many paraeducators are hired without prior training and much of their training is done on the job. With experienced and veteran mentors at their side, new paraeducators can benefit from these support structures, stay motivated, start strong in their careers and elevate the professionalism of all paraeducators. NEA ESP Quality is currently updating the training manual, ESPs: Supporting Our Own which was designed to create effective mentoring programs for ESPs. Stay tuned for updates on its availability.