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WEEKLY STAFF FOCUS IN A SPED CLASSROOM

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

As teachers, we regularly post our student learning objectives. It guides our instruction and helps our students understand the focus of a lesson. Posting daily objectives has been a big thing in my school (and probably yours) for the last few years. I started thinking about how helpful it would be if my team of paraprofessionals could have an objective as well, something to focus on improving each week as part of on-the-job training. We all know how difficult it can be to find time to train paraprofessionals in our SPED classrooms! So, I implemented a weekly staff focus. Here's how it works!

Staff weekly focus in the special education classrooms check in sheet

 

Each Monday, I post our focus on our staff board.


I mapped out some of the skills that I definitely want to focus on with my paraprofessionals each year. I left a few open weeks to incorporate skills that I see as a need in the classroom. I usually try to choose skills that can be applied to all of the students, but occasionally, I will focus on something specific to one student. For example, one year, we implemented a new AAC device with a student, and we spent a few weeks focusing on modeling and core vocabulary to get in the habit of using the device. It was super helpful!

Paraprofessional white board with weekly focus posters
Ignore my dirty white board! 😉
Paraprofessional prep station with staff whiteboard and focus above

Here are some of the skills we will focus on each year:

  • Specific behavior praise

  • Increasing our praise rate

  • Being ready and prepared to start instruction as soon as the bell rings

  • Using behavior momentum to increase compliance

  • Prompting and following the least-to-most prompt hierarchy

  • Encouraging independence in classroom routines

  • Accurate & complete data collection

  • Offering choices

  • Wait time between prompts

  • Engagement types & strategies to keep students engaged

  • Taking accurate and complete data

  • Precision commands

  • Modifying assignments in general education classes

paraprofessional check in focus sheet

I also create a weekly form for my paras that includes the focus, any events or important info for the week, and a self-rating scale. I always print out an extra form for myself as well. If there is something that I'm not doing well, there’s a chance my staff are having a hard time with it too. This is a good opportunity for me to evaluate and see if there's a better way to do something or to re-train everyone at our next staff meeting.


I ask my paras to turn in their form at the end of the week with any comments. I included a spot for them to let me know if they felt they needed more training on the weekly focus. If multiple paraprofessionals said yes, then I put it on our next staff meeting agenda. Otherwise, I just do a quick one-on-one training.


As you know, finding time for communication in the classroom can be a challenge so this form has been a great communication tool between my paraprofessionals and me. You can grab it for free in the Paraprofessionals section of the Resource Library.

If you try this, I'd love to hear how it goes & what skills you focus on each week!

Miss Lulu Signature


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