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Competency Area A:

Communicating with Paraprofessionals


Communication among adults working together to provide instruction and support to students in Minnesota schools is critical. Teachers must provide guidance to paraprofessionals regarding schedules, lesson plans and other tasks. The teachers must ensure the paraprofessional is made aware of any changes that could impact the students with whom he or she works, such as: medication changes, instructional or behavioral changes, or other changes that might cause a shift in the role or attention of the paraprofessional. Communication is key to a successful and coordinated classroom. Establishing a regular pattern of communication will ensure that team members have a time to discuss student needs and goals, challenges they might be facing and ideas they have. Creating the time for communication and planning will pay off in shared understanding and expectations down the road.

In addition to communication between teachers and paraprofessionals, teachers must also communicate with others about the role of the paraprofessional. Sometimes parents, related services staff, and even administrators can be unclear about the role of paraprofessionals. They might have unreasonable expectations if their understanding is not correct. Teachers can play an important role in clarifying the role and responsibilities of paraprofessionals.


1. Communicates with paraprofessionals in a clear, receptive and responsive manner.

2. Provides clear daily direction in coordinating plans, schedules, and tasks.

3.Informs and updates paraprofessionals regarding student information, such as assessment results, behavioral changes, medications and other factors that may influence the work of the paraprofessional.

4. Provides regular opportunities for staff communication, group discussion, and collaboration.

5. Assists paraprofessionals in clarifying their roles and responsibilities to other staff, parents, or volunteers.

Minnesota Resources and Tools

A variety of resources and tools are provided here for you to use when designing and offering your training for teachers. Some of these resources are referenced within the activities and discussions and you can find them here.

Related PowerPoint Presentation

The following PowerPoint presentations are related to this competency area. There can be some overlap in the presentations since the competencies also overlap to some degree. Please revise the presentations in a way that fits your training.

Activities and Discussion Questions

We have identified some activities and discussion questions you might use when working with teachers. Fran Johnson assisted with this list of activities. Some of the activities bring the activity to the paraprofessionals with whom the teacher works. We encourage active discussion.