PDS provides local assessments for paraprofessionals who are seeking a certificate to meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act guidelines for "highly qualified" status, and also provides training in skills needed to pass the Local Academic Paraprofessional Assessment.
One key element of the NCLB Act that took effect on January 08, 2002, is the requirement for "highly qualified" paraprofessionals. Please note, these requirements apply to paraprofessionals with instructional duties in any program supported by Title I funds. These requirements also apply to all instructional paraprofessional staff in school-wide Title I programs. The federal definition of a "highly qualified" paraprofessional is one who has the following:
- Two years of postsecondary study, or
- An Associate's (or higher) degree, or
- A passing score on a state or local academic assessment that measures knowledge of, and the ability, to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics.
The NCLB Act requires all paraprofessionals employed after January 08, 2002, meet one of the definitions above. Paraprofessionals employed by school districts on, or before, January 08, 2002, must meet one of the definitions by January 2006.