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Filed under Feature, Issue 7

Recognizing Paraeducators

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Para educators are significant at all levels of schools by aiding and supporting students. Through training and years of experience, paraprofessionals are strengthening in every classroom and making parents assured that their child is receiving the help he or she needs.
The primary role is to offer students an additional level of aid and guidance inside and outside of the classroom. While the requirements in the Para educator field are evolving, and difficult days happen to everyone, they remind themselves why it’s worth it—the kids. Striving to make a difference even if there are tough days.
Current Para educator, Amy White, has hit her 17 year mark.
“You see the pros every day in the smallest little gains,” White said. “I don’t know if there is really any cons.”
Before beginning her career as a Para educator, White had experience at Cedar Valley Services, a service that has been helping communities in Minnesota with offering vocational rehabilitation services and providing help for individuals with disabilities since 1960.
“I try to keep a positive attitude,” White said. “I put a smile on my face and try to put that smile on someone else’s face.”
Each individual has their own unique qualities. However, Para educators show their leadership skills exhibiting patience, empathy, flexibility, etc. Being and staying positive is important at any job but promoting positive behavior isn’t easy for everyone.
Another topic that also arises is the true understanding of Special Education. Diligent in her work, Nancy Royce, has been a Para educator for 18 years. Before working at Albert Lea High School, Royce volunteered at several elementary schools to help kids read and improve writing.
“A lot of people do not understand special education,” said Royce. “It’s not all encompassing, it is not one size fits all. There are many different things that can categorize a student as special education. It could be many things, like just reading, writing, or hearing. I wish people would take the time to understand that and learn that it’s not just one issue.”
Children’s minds are at a crucial stage with their brains developing and to have encouraging guidance from people like Para educators is significant. Whether you have been a Para educator for decades, years, or months, it is safe to say the Para educator community impact many. With their teaching to their kindness, Para educators deserve to be recognized.
“I really wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives,” said Brandi Hensche, current Para educator of 14 years. “I wanted to make them feel important and help them.”

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Albert Lea High School Newspaper
Recognizing Paraeducators