- What are the required qualifications for teachers working in Title I preschools?
- What are the required qualifications for paraprofessionals working in Title I preschool programs?
- Who qualifies as a paraprofessional in a Title I preschool program?
- Do the requirements apply to paraprofessionals working in preschool programs jointly funded by Head Start and Title I?
- What are the requirements for the supervision of paraprofessionals working in a Title I preschool program?
- May Title I funds be used to provide professional development for preschool teachers and paraprofessionals not paid with Title I funds?
Well-trained teachers are important to the quality of early childhood education programs and the successful development and learning of young children. In Wisconsin, a highly qualified teacher is defined as one who meets all of the requirements of PI 34 (the teacher licensing rule) for the subjects and levels that he/she is teaching. The requirements include, but are not limited to:
- a bachelor’s degree
- completion of an approved licensing program
- a rigorous exam in the subjects being taught
- In addition, a highly qualified teacher may be a teacher of record who is enrolled in a state approved alternative teacher-training program.
Preschool teachers working in Title I preschool programs must meet the requirements stated above and obtain licensure in “early childhood” or “pre-kindergarten.” See License Codes for more information.
In Title I preschool programs in targeted assistance schools—
- all paraprofessionals paid with Title I funds must have earned a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent; and
- any paraprofessional paid with Title I funds and hired after January 8, 2002, must have
- completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education;
- obtained an associate’s or higher degree; or
- met a rigorous standard of quality and demonstrate- through a formal state or local academic assessment-knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness. All paraprofessionals paid with Title I funds and hired by an Local Educational Agency (LEA) must meet these requirements by January 8, 2006.
In Title I preschool programs in schoolwide program schools, all paraprofessionals must meet the above requirements, regardless of how their salary is funded.
Paraprofessionals who only serve as translators or who conduct parental involvement activities must have a secondary school diploma or its equivalent, but do not have to meet these additional requirements.
A paraprofessional, for the purpose of meeting staff qualification requirements in a Title I preschool, means an individual who provides instructional support under the direct supervision of a qualified teacher. Instructional support may include: assisting in classroom management, conducting parent involvement activities, providing instructional support in a library or media center, acting as a translator, or providing instructional support services such as helping children practice reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness skills taught by the teacher. Paraprofessionals should not be providing direct instruction or introducing new content or skills. A paraprofessional does not include individuals who have only non-instructional duties, such as providing personal care services or performing clerical duties.
The requirements apply to paraprofessionals working in a non-schoolwide Head Start program that is jointly funded with Title I funds if the paraprofessional is paid with Title I funds; for example, a program where Title I funds the instructional component and Head Start funds the remainder of the program activities. The requirements also apply when a jointly funded program is part of a Title I schoolwide program.
Paraprofessionals must provide instructional support under the direct supervision of a teacher. A paraprofessional works under the direct supervision of a teacher if the teacher plans the instructional support activities the paraprofessional carries out, evaluates the achievement of the students with whom the paraprofessional is working, and the paraprofessional works in close and frequent physical proximity with the teacher.
As a result, a Title I preschool program staffed entirely by paraprofessionals is not permitted. A Title I preschool program where a paraprofessional provides instructional support and a teacher visits a site once or twice a week but otherwise is not in the classroom, or a program where a paraprofessional works with a group of students in another location while the teacher provides instruction to the rest of the class, would also be inconsistent with the requirement that paraprofessionals work in close and frequent proximity to a teacher.
A paraprofessional may assume limited duties that are assigned to similar personnel who are not working in the Title I preschool program including non-instructional duties and duties that do not benefit participating students, if the amount of time the paraprofessional spends on those duties is the same proportion of total work time as the time spent by similar personnel at the same school.
Title I funds may be used to provide professional development for any teacher or paraprofessional working in a Title I preschool program supported partly by Title I funding even if their salary is not paid for with Title I funds if the training is related to the Title I program and is designed to meet the educational needs of Title I children. For example, Title I funds may be used for professional development for a Head Start teacher working in a preschool program jointly funded by Title I and Head Start if the training is related to the Title I program or is designed to help the Head Start teachers meet the educational needs of Title I children.
Under certain conditions, Title I funds may also be used for joint professional development for non-Title I preschool teachers and paraprofessionals working in programs with no Title I funds, such as Head Start staff, and for Title I elementary school teachers and paraprofessionals. For example, Title I funds may be used for such joint professional development if the children served in the non-Title I preschool are likely to be attending a Title I school when they enter kindergarten, and if the purpose of the professional development is to improve coordination between the non-Title I preschool and the Title I school or to facilitate children’s transition from preschool into the Title I elementary school.