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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Three tiers of ESE aides in Hillsborough

Jeffrey Eakins, Hillsborough deputy superintendent of schools

Skip O'Rourke / Times

Jeffrey Eakins, Hillsborough deputy superintendent of schools



One-on-one aides in special-education classrooms will soon receive benefits, Hillsborough deputy superintendent Jeffrey Eakins announced at Tuesday's school board meeting.

In addition, the board will soon be presented with a new classification of exceptional student education aides, who will be called paraprofessionals.

The first tier, Para 1's, will work 30 minutes longer each day, for a slight boost in pay.

Para 2's will advance two pay levels. To qualify, the aide must be highly qualified under federal guidelines, with a passing score on the Parapro exam or two years of college.

There will also be a new Para 3 job for those with even higher qualifications.

"You're seeing a ladder developing here," said Eakins, who chaired a district work group to improve safety and training in ESE.

The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the death of Jennifer Caballero a child with Down syndrome who wandered away from Rodgers Middle School and drowned in a pond. The investigation into her death revealed that some of the aides who were supposed to be supervising her had not had any training.

Eakins described enhanced training opportunities that are also being developed. "They would be teacher-like trainings," he said.

In some cases, the paraprofessionals will be steered toward college programs so they can become teachers.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:35pm]


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