How Kelly® Education innovated a hands-on approach to develop top-notch paraeducators.
The Great Valley School District, located in Chester County outside of Philadelphia, has always made serving students with special needs a high priority. However, with 728 students across six schools participating in the program, the need for a comprehensive and effective paraeducator program became crucial to ensure successful outcomes for students.
For the past two years, the district has found a collaborative partner in Kelly Education.
“Paraeducators have a skillset that is very different from traditional teachers,” says Dr. La’Keidra McDougal, special education supervisor for Great Valley’s middle school and high school. “Kelly Education works to find and develop the right people in our community to do this important job.”
A paraeducator partnership.
The Kelly Education Managed Paraeducator Program (MPP) is distinct in that it places a specialist onsite to work with the district’s special education leaders to hire, develop, and manage the paraeducator staff. Right now, that’s a team of more than 40 paraeducators at Great Valley, but more are needed.
“Through the pandemic, there have been times when I was speaking almost daily with our Kelly Education representative, even texting her on my way to work and brainstorming, because the need for paraeducators was so great,” says McDougal. The trusted relationship has allowed for some creative solutions to immediate staffing challenges.
Kelly Education has helped Great Valley to increase fill rates from 30% to 60% by ensuring that paraeducators are quickly onboarded and receive intensive training. Since many of the paraeducators are new to education or have switched careers, that initial training is critical. “The Kelly Education onboarding process has saved a significant amount of time by getting new paraeducators ready for their first day,” says McDougal.
“If a paraeducator has any concerns or requires more training, the MPP specialist is the main point of contact. If she can’t address a need, she immediately comes to me or our department chair. We collaboratively identify ways to make sure our paraeducators are on the right track.”