Section 1119(c)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—as amended (ESEA), mandates that each local educational agency (LEA) receiving assistance under Title I, Part A shall ensure that all paraprofessionals hired after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and working in a program supported with funds under this part shall have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and:
- completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education; or
- obtained an associate's (or higher) degree; or
- met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment the knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics.
Accordingly, Section 1119(i) requires the local educational agency principal of each Title I school to attest annually in writing that all paraprofessionals working with Title I students in an instructional capacity are highly-qualified to help improve student achievement.
In order to ensure compliance with ESEA, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Title I office must ensure that all paraprofessionals, who are required to do so, meet the qualification requirements in Section 1119(i). Paraprofessionals required to meet highly-qualified guidelines include those who:
- provide instructional support;
- provide other instructional related services under the direct supervision of a teacher;
- and/or are paid in part or in full with Title I funds.
Additionally, according to the Title I Paraprofessional, Non-Regulatory Guidance, the highly-qualified requirements also apply to all paraprofessionals in a Title I school-wide program, without regard to whether the position is funded with federal, state, or local funds because Title I funds support all teachers and paraprofessionals in a school-wide program. On the contrary, in a Title I targeted assistance program, the highly-qualified requirements apply only to paraprofessionals paid in part or full with Title I, Part A funds. Section 1119(e) indicates that the highly-qualified requirements do not apply to paraprofessionals that solely serve as translators or conduct parental involvement activities.
According to the Title I Paraprofessional, Non-Regulatory Guidance, the highly-qualified requirements are dependent upon the duties and responsibilities assigned to paraprofessionals working in special education. If a paraprofessional working with special education students does NOT provide any instructional support (such as a person who solely provides personal care services), that paraprofessional is not considered a paraprofessional under Title I, Part A and the requirements do not apply. If a paraprofessional working with special education students works in a Title I targeted assistance program, has instructional support duties, and is paid in whole or in part with Title I, Part A funds, the highly-qualified requirements apply. If the paraprofessional is not paid with Title I, Part A funds, however, the requirements do not apply. If that paraprofessional working with special education students works in a Title I school-wide program instead and has instructional support duties, the highly-qualified requirements apply without regard to the source of funding that supports the position.
To ensure that all paraprofessionals meet the highly-qualified requirements, all Title I schools are required to complete the 2015-2016 SY Title I Paraprofessional Attestation Form, provide an exhaustive list of all paraprofessionals in the building-new and old, and attach acceptable evidence for those paraprofessionals that have not appeared on previously submitted reports.
The principal of each LEA receiving assistance under Title I, Part A must submit the corresponding documentation to the ADE to demonstrate how each paraprofessional meets the highly-qualified requirements outlined in Section 1119(c)(1). The only forms of acceptable evidence include:
- a copy of the ETS Parapro Assessment report from ETS showing a minimum score of 457 and higher; or
- a copy of a transcript showing that the paraprofessional has completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education, which includes at least 60 credit hours; or
- a copy of a transcript showing that the paraprofessional has obtained an associate’s degree or higher; or
- a copy of an Arkansas teacher license.
Copies of the “annual” Title I Paraprofessional Attestation Form(s) are to be maintained at each Title I school and at the LEA’s district office and be made available to the general public upon request.
If documentation is not received by October 29, 2015, the school will be out of compliance with Section 1119(i) of ESEA, and this will result in a follow-up from the monitoring unit.
For all additional assistance, please contact the Title I office at 501-683-5424.
SY 2015-2016 Title I Paraprofessional Compliance Reports should be directed to:
Arkansas Department of Education
Title I Office – Paraprofessional Compliance 2015-2016
Four Capitol Mall – Mail Slot #26
Little Rock, AR 72201