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Paraprofessionals work alongside teachers to provide instructional and clerical support. This support allows teachers critical time for lesson planning and teaching. Paraprofessionals provide individual and small group attention to students, while assisting students to learn content and skills using the teacher’s lesson plans. Paraprofessionals may also assist the teacher in preparing materials for lessons, setting up equipment, and recording grades. Other responsibilities may include assisting and/or supervising students on the playground, in the cafeteria and hallways, or on the bus. Assisting students with more significant disabilities may include feeding, changing, reinforcing functional skills, and providing physical assistance. Paraprofessionals may assist students with disabilities in both the general education and special education classrooms. If you love working with children, but don’t currently have a teaching certificate, this may be the perfect job for you.

Role of Teacher

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If you are a paraprofessional, currently working for an Arizona district or charter school, you may be eligible for tuition assistance grant funds. School districts and charter schools may apply for grant funds that help their agencies “grow their own” highly qualified special education teachers.

The Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, Professional Learning and Sustainability has designed the SETTA (Special Education Teacher Tuition Assistance) grant to address the critical shortfall in qualified special education teachers by providing college tuition assistance to prepare eligible paraprofessionals who are serving students with disabilities to become certified special education teachers.

Grants that are awarded to public local education agencies (LEAs) through a pre-application process will pay the community college, state college, and/or university tuition and fees and provide a textbook allowance for each qualified class for paraprofessionals who are selected to participate in this grant program. Paraprofessionals must enroll in an Arizona approved special education educator preparation program (EPP) offered by a public institute of higher education. Additional LEA and paraprofessional requirements and commitments are required. A grant award is not guaranteed for every pre-application submission

If you are seeking a bachelor’s degree in special education, ask your special education director about the Special Education Teacher Tuition Assistance Grant.