Humboldt County Office of Education: Para Educator – Special Education

Notice: In July 2022 HCOE classified job descriptions were re-classified. We are working to get the classifications changed on individual job descriptions. A PDF mapping these changes can be found here. For questions please contact the HCOE Personnel Office at (707) 445-7039.

HCOE Job Description

Para Educator – Special Education

Position Summary

Under the immediate supervision of an assigned school administrator or director, and under the general direction of a classroom or program teacher, the special education paraeducator provides instructional assistance to students individually and/or in groups according to state standards, classroom objectives and the individualized education program (IEP) or individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).  This may include implementing health and/or behavioral plans and providing emergency health related assistance to students as needed. Other duties include direct supervision of students, implementing evidence-based teaching strategies and creating and maintaining classroom environments.

This position description is intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee assigned to the position. This description is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, abilities and working conditions associated with the position. Employees may be required to perform any combination of these duties.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This entry level position works directly with students to advance their academic and individualized goals.  The special education paraeducator provides direct and indirect instructional support to children within the classroom, home or community environments under the direction of the assigned teacher.

Supervision Received and Exercised

This position reports directly to the assigned administrator or director for the program to which they are assigned.

Examples of Duties and Responsibilities (Examples of Essential Job Functions)

  • Provide students individual and specialized instruction daily.
  • Assist individual students and small groups of students with skill development and other related activities.
  • Assist the instructor by directly implementing lesson plans and educational interventions.
  • Assist the instructor with maintaining program order by observing and monitoring the activities of students. These activities may be in or out of the classroom setting.
  • Observe, monitor and provide proactive behavioral direction to students.
  • Collect data on IEP/IFSP goals and other target areas, under the direction of the administrator, instructor, behavior specialist or school psychologist.
  • Be responsive to the unique needs of each student.
  • Implement behavior strategies and implement behavior plans under the direction of the administrator, instructor, behavior specialist or school psychologist.
  • Assist in maintaining an orderly classroom including sanitizing and cleaning of materials within the instructional environment.
  • Prepare and clean eating materials, cleaning supplies, eating and work surfaces, restrooms and other areas in a manner that satisfies sanitation and safety requirements.
  • Assist in physical development independent access to communication, personal hygiene (i.e. feeding, grooming, toileting), academic learning and vocational skills.
  • Supervise students within the classroom, outdoors, in the community and during field trips.
  • May operate or assist with mechanical equipment such as lifts, wheelchairs, modified bikes, standers and other accommodation support devices.
  • Work collaboratively and professionally with diverse groups of students, families and colleagues.
  • Willingly engage in learning new instructional techniques and participating in employer lead professional development.
  • Reflect and collaborate with team members regarding lessons and engage in problem solving to enhance the impact of educational lessons and environment.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Qualifications (aka Employment Standards)

Knowledge of:

  • Basic knowledge of principles and practices of age appropriate, grade level academic guidance applicable for an educational setting.
  • Behavior management strategies and techniques relating to pupils experiencing difficulties.
  • Basic knowledge and skills using personal computers, recording information and sending communication.
  • Human-relation skills to work productively and cooperatively with teachers, students and parents in informal settings, and to demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of students.
  • Data record-keeping systems.
  • Personal hygiene and mental health practices.
  • Cultural Differences

Ability to:

  • Sit, stand, and/or move about for extended periods in varied settings (indoor or outdoor).
  • Receive instruction and training in relevant areas.
  • Be sensitive to cultural, social, economic and racial characteristics and diversity.
  • Learn to provide instruction in special subject matter areas or to children who have special needs.
  • Actively engage in activities with students including play, bend, kneel, lift and sit at a child’s level.
  • Read and write printed materials, computer screens and observe student’s movement (visual acuity).
  • Ability to communicate in small group, one-on-one conversations, and to speak with small groups of children.
  • Sufficient manual and finger dexterity to point out important words/figures to students and to operate personal computers.
  • Ambulatory ability to move around a classroom, playgrounds and assist with recreation-oriented learning activities.
  • Ability to lift children, carry, push and move supplies/furniture/etc. of light-to-medium weight (up to 50 lbs.) on an intermittent basis.
  • Move materials and equipment, including to hold, reach, push and pull light weight equipment & supplies up to 50 pounds.
  • Demonstrate competence in communicating effectively with children and parents, staff members and representatives of other agencies.
  • Provide appropriate social, emotional and behavioral supports to meet student needs.
  • Regulate and manage emotions during sometimes challenging situations.
  • Request assistance when needed
  • Learn laws, rules, practices and procedures related to public education for children and related to the program to which assigned.
  • Communicate effectively via telephone, emails and in person.
  • Assist students with personal care.
  • Function independently with assigned tasks.
  • Be able to work directly with all racial, ethnic, linguistic, disability and socioeconomic groups, while maintaining a kind and professional demeanor free of discrimination.
  • Be flexible and adaptable to changing environments and schedules
  • Ability to change communication style to multiple cultural environments.
  • Provide positive social, emotional and behavioral supports to meet the needs of all students.
  • Collaborate and maintain a productive and safe learning environment.
  • Organize and prioritize work & manage time effectively.
  • Communicate in a professional manner, in formal and informal settings, with students, parents and fellow staff.
  • Drive a vehicle and get to assigned station.
  • Collect data under the guidance of the teacher or specialist.
  • Keep information confidential.
  • Prepare instructional materials, such as art and other activities.

Education and Experience

Minimum required

  • High School Diploma or the equivalent (GED)
  • AA degree or passed County Para-educator exam

Preferred Experience

  • Minimum of 1 year of experience working with students who have significant needs is desirable.
  • Ability to speak a second language (Spanish, Sign Language, Hmong highly desirable).

Working Conditions (Work Environment)

This position will be assigned to an educational setting which may be in a classroom, community or home.  The employee will be expected to work closely with other County offices, District personnel, students, families, other medical professionals, outside agencies and private partners. Assigned school site settings where multiple children, school staff and families are present.  Employees may be required to walk, stand or conduct work in outdoor educational environments where there may be loud students or staff, varied temperatures, public interaction or upset staff or students.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of the job, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand, walk, speak and hear. The employee will need to frequently perform repetitive hand/finger movements for activities such as, but not limited to, using a keyboard, administering medication, assisting with feeding and performing other related duties. The employee is occasionally required to climb stairs, bend, reach with hands/arms, lift (up to 50 lbs), stoop, kneel and crouch.

Other Requirements

  • Must be fingerprinted and a satisfactory Department of Justice records check must be received by HCOE prior to employment.
  • TB testing and/or risk assessment will be required upon employment.
  • Must pass a pre-employment physical (if applicable).
  • May be required to drive with or without students; some positions may require a California driver’s license, proof of insurance and possible participation in the DMV PUll Notice Program once employed.

Classified Range 4
PC Approved 1/10/2023

Administration Office

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Press Inquiries

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent