Christina Bailey

After having raised her kids and deciding to enter the workforce, Christina Bailey had an interest in working within the school system. She entered our Parapro program, where she quickly learned the skills to pass the Parapro exam and become eligible to work as a paraprofessional educator in Wayne Township schools. Built into our Parapro program is a field experience element in which students gain experiences in a variety of paraprofessional settings and grade levels, as they rotate through two elementary schools and one middle school.

Christina was nervous about working with middle school students and hesitant about her upcoming field experience there. After having some special topic lessons in Parapro class about behavior management and the WHY behind student behavior, she not only had a willingness to enter the junior high, but she also developed a passion for that age level, as she recalled one incident in which she was able to effectively talk through an emotionally explosive student situation and establish the rapport to get that student focused and on task during one of her field experiences. Before she even completed the class, principals took notice, asking if she was interested in interviewing for open para positions. “It became clear that Christina was an asset to any school building in which she worked. She poured her heart and soul into helping students in her field experiences – something that can only truly be observed in the field. It is through these field experiences that we can begin to see our future paraprofessional educators truly shine,” says Amy Richmund, teacher for the Parapro class.

She passed her test and successfully completed the Parapro class, and, just one day after her completion, she was already hired. Ironically, it ended up being a position at the middle school – an area that Christina never would imagined for herself prior to her field experiences in Parapro class. Just one month into her experience at the school, we received a lengthy email from the principal, sharing his appreciation for us introducing him to someone who had already become an integral staff member. “She’s knocking it out of the park!” said Dan Wilson, principal of Lynhurst 7 th and 8 th Grade Center, as he quoted Jen Ford, a special ed leader at the school saying, “I know that we have only had Christina Bailey for a few days, but she has already gone above and beyond any other paraprofessional we have ever had. She is actively participating in the classroom and seeking out ways to ensure great learning. She has been in my room every morning asking for things to do and looking for ways to help our students throughout the day. She has made a great first impression.”

What is really great is that Christina’s story isn’t unique. In just two classes of the Parapro program we held at Wayne Township Adult Ed, our district has hired 10 of our paras in the k12 schools and one with adult ed. We have had many paraprofessionals even earn their HSE, Parapro certification, and employment within the school system, all within our six-week program. What’s even more awesome is that because our adult ed population closely mirrors our k12 population, for the first time ever, our district now has a wealth of bilingual paras from which to interview and hire to work with our students, further supporting our ELL families within the district.

The massive success of this program is thanks to the career-focused vision for our adult ed program and the passionate, supportive staff that we have to support our thriving Parapro program. It has become a huge success to us as well as a critical HR resource for our k12 schools. Most importantly, it has strengthened our relationship with our k12 partners. Our Parapro program has even sparked discussion about the district creating a transition to teaching program specifically for our highly successful paraprofessionals within our district.

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