Lack of Paras Negatively Impacting Students


Kristy Duong

“They’re able to help us do the stuff we need. Like struggling with work. They help us get focus on work,” Kyan Hackney said (12).

Kyan Hackney a senior here from Southeast is a special need student who has a para to help him out. But he feels like the shortage has been affecting him.

“That really is kind of upsetting to see not a lot of paras are not here a lot,” Hackney said.

There has been a shortage of para educators here at Southeast just like the shortage of substitute teachers and bus drivers.

“Partly is because of staff shortages. Lately, that’s been getting better. But at the beginning, we were just seeing a lack of people coming into the profession and applying for the jobs,” special education chair Andrew Pina said.

Paraeducators have an important role here at Southeast.

“A paraeducator is very vital to special education. They help provide services that we legally have to provide to our students with IEPs,” Pina said. “But also, they’re that piece that really helps the teachers with building relationships and helping these students get the support they need.”

“It’s great with organization and to help individually as we walk around the classroom. Some topics are a bit more difficult, and the concept is a little bit harder to grasp. The paras are amazing in helping students understand that they work really hard, and they prepare,” English Teacher Sharon Mueller said.

“Having another teacher or a para in a classroom really helps with figuring out what they need, modifying things for them so that they can succeed in the classroom as well,” paraeducator Satori Roberson said.

But with the shortage, it has been having a negative impact on students.

“I was actually bouncing to classroom to classroom more often than I should. I think as far as my job for the teachers, and students, and class it’s not fair. At the same time because I would only get half of a class with the students, I was directly paired with compared to having a whole class,” Roberson said.

Para educators really benefit students like Kyan.

“Distraction and all of that stuff. It’s really confusing to have a lot of people without paras,” Hackney said.

“We really need them in our schools,” Pina said, “and what they do is really helpful to teachers, students, and the whole school.”