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9.0 Personnel Development Standards

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Personnel development is a structure for personnel planning and focuses on pre-service and in-service needs in order to plan a program to meet the needs of pupils with disabilities.

Required Policies & Procedures

Specific policies, procedures and other documentation to demonstrate compliance will be found on each of the fourteen district's policy web page.

9.0 Personnel Development Standards

9.01 Personnel Development Requirements

The district must ensure that all personnel necessary to carry out Part B of the Act are appropriately and ad prepared, subject to the requirements of 300.156 (related to personnel qualifications) and section 2122 of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)

34 C.F.R.300.207

Staff development activities must:

(1) focus on the school classroom and research-based strategies that improve student learning;

(2) provide opportunities for teachers to practice and improve their instructional skills over time;

(3) provide opportunities for teachers to use student data as part of their daily work to increase student achievement;

(4) enhance teacher content knowledge and instructional skills;

(5) align with state and local academic standards;

(6) provide opportunities to build professional relationships, foster collaboration among principals and staff who provide instruction, and provide opportunities for teacher-to-teacher mentoring; and

(7) align with the plan of the district or site for an alternative teacher professional pay system.

Staff development activities may include curriculum development and curriculum training programs, and activities that provide teachers and other members of site-based teams training to enhance team performance. The school district also may implement other staff development activities required by law and activities associated with professional teacher compensation models.

MN  Statue 122A.60, subd 1a

9.02 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSD) Plan

9.02.01 Plan Content

Provide for pre-service and inservice training to be conducted on an interdisciplinary basis, to the extent appropriate; Provide for the training of a variety of personnel needed to meet the requirements of this part, including public and private providers, primary referral sources, paraprofessionals, and persons who will serve as service coordinators; and Ensure that the training provided relates specifically to:

34 C.F.R. 303.360(b)

ASEC is committed to supporting special education staff by providing a wide variety of professional development activities.  Each year district and ASEC staff through the Regional Directors committee complete a survey indicating the current topics of interest.  Based on this survey, inservices are provided on a regional and local basis dealing with general issues or disability specific topics.  Typically ASEC presents in-services each year for district special education staff that generally focuses on identified areas of in-service need that are coop specific.   District administrators have the opportunity to attend a yearly principals in-service on special education issues.  Regional training opportunities are also presented to district staff and administrators on a regular basis.

ASEC staff is also available to the district's to present in-services at the local level on a wide range of topics.  ASEC also has a variety of training videos and other resources which are available for district training opportunities.

Paraprofessional Training Before or Immediately upon Employment

Paraprofessionals should possess skills to begin meeting the needs of students with whom they will work.  Such skills include: knowledge of  emergency procedures, building orientation, roles and responsibilities, confidentiality, vulnerability, and  reportability. The ASEC has developed a Paraprofessional Handbook as a tool for providing new para training.

Paraprofessional Training

ASEC, along with the individual districts provides opportunities to enable district paraprofessionals to continue to further develop the knowledge and skills, such as understanding disabilities, following lesson plans, and implementing follow-up instructional procedures and activities, and behavioral strategies  necessary to work with students with disabilities such as Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI).

Guidelines Used by to Determine Need for Paraprofessional Support 

Since the advent of the Education for Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) in 1975 (now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA 04), increasing emphasis has been placed on including students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Typically, to provide what some educators call “responsible inclusion”, schools assign some students with severe disabilities a paraprofessional to support them in the general education environment. The size of the para work force continues to climb as schools place more students with disabilities in programs alongside their peers without disabilities. 

Recent research into this model has pointed to the potential damage to students when schools rely too much on paraprofessionals. These studies suggest that too much para support can have far-reaching effects on the following:

Research has also shown that paras often assume too much responsibility for the student, bond with students to the point of becoming overprotective, inadvertently interfere with the student’s social interaction goals, and are viewed by parents and educators as the student’s primary teacher. In addition, there is a high turnover rate among paraprofessionals who burn out from increased reliance on them as the sole resource for implementing complex student programs while receiving little or no training to do so. (Teaching Exceptional Children, July/Aug 2001) The Para Support Request form is one tool to assist teams in determining the level of support needed for a student.

Considerations for Need 

  1. Paraprofessionals are hired on the basis of need. Unless the information and data is significantly conclusive, the team should design a trial placement without a para. Observations should be made and data collected during this time to document need for paraprofessional support.

  2. Document attempts to resolve the problem first before considering a para; use consultants, schedule changes, curriculum and equipment modifications.

  3. Complete assessments to identify student’s strengths and needs. Include all appropriate disciplines. Do not rely on recommendations of outside agencies alone.

  4. Include all the team members in a review of the assessments and the decision-making process.

  5. The team should specify the exact role, duties, and activities of the para and include them in the “Adaptation in general and special education” section of the IEP. The actual para time required must be indicated on the “Service” grid of the IEP.

  6. A student without an IEP cannot be assigned a para paid through special education funds. Nor can para time be spent in general education activities be reimbursed through special education funds (e.g., lunch room duty, study halls, recess etc.). Salaries must be prorated to allow for other duties.

  7. Specify the Para's supervisor and the teacher who will direct the para’s work. Also specify the nature and frequency of contact between the para and teacher.  Establish an evaluation policy and procedure.

  8. Consider at each meeting:

    1. Does the para need to be with the student during all parts of the day for all activities and in all environments? Designate environments and activities for student independence and assign para to other classroom/school duties, breaks, lunches, etc.

    2. Will/is the student becoming dependent on the para? Does this conflict with the goal for the student to become independent? Plan for ways to decrease dependence.

    3. What is the anticipated target date for the student to function independently without the support of a para?

Increasing Student Independence

 The process of gradually and systematically reducing the amount of assistance provided to a student makes them more independent. This procedure will be student specific.

 General Steps

  1. Determine which skills the student needs to learn to be independent and successful in the mainstream classroom. Is there a skill deficit, performance deficit or both?
  2. Task analyze the skill to assist in teaching the skill and later fading.
  3. Repeatedly teach the skill until the student demonstrates mastery. Use role-play, practice, and feedback, and praise. Involve the paraprofessional in the teaching process.
  4. Define the skill that the para will be re-teaching and when the skill should be re-taught.
  5. Teach the student self-monitoring and self-management techniques. Teaching the student to self-manage will reduce the need for the external cues and control that is provided by a paraprofessional.
  6. Use the principals of generalization to increase the probability that the behavior will generalize to the mainstream classroom (i.e., teach the skills where they will be used; teach the skills that the student needs in the mainstream; teach the skills in different settings; use natural reinforcement).


Verbal or inflectional-provide the student with a verbal redirection.

Physical- there is physical contact between the adult and student. Examples: taking the student’s hand and guiding it.

 Modeling- model the desired behavior for the student or instruct the student to watch another person engaging in the behavior (e.g., “Look at the other student’s. What are they doing?”)


Continuous Supervision

Partial Supervision

Decreased Supervision


9.03 Personnel Preparation and Continuing Education

9.03.01 Improvement Strategies

A Preparation of General and Special Education Personnel

The advisory staff development committee must adopt a staff development plan for improving student achievement. The plan must be consistent with education outcomes that the school board determines. The plan must include ongoing staff development activities that contribute toward continuous improvement in achievement of the following goals:

(1) improve student achievement of state and local education standards in all areas of the curriculum by using best practices methods;

(2) effectively meet the needs of a diverse student population, including at-risk children, children with disabilities, and gifted children, within the regular classroom and other settings;

(3) provide an inclusive curriculum for a racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse student population that is consistent with the state education diversity rule and the district's education diversity plan;

(4) improve staff collaboration and develop mentoring and peer coaching programs for teachers new to the school or district;

(5) effectively teach and model violence prevention policy and curriculum that address early intervention alternatives, issues of harassment, and teach nonviolent alternatives for conflict resolution; and

(6) provide teachers and other members of site-based management teams with appropriate management and financial management skills.

MN Stat 122A.60, subd. 3

The plan must include the staff development outcomes under subdivision 3, the means to achieve the outcomes, and procedures for evaluating progress at each school site toward meeting education outcomes, consistent with relicensure requirements under section 122A.18, subdivision 2, paragraph (b). The plan also must:

(1) support stable and productive professional communities achieved through ongoing and schoolwide progress and growth in teaching practice;

(2) emphasize coaching, professional learning communities, classroom action research, and other job-embedded models;

(3) maintain a strong subject matter focus premised on students' learning goals;

(4) ensure specialized preparation and learning about issues related to teaching students with special needs and limited English proficiency; and

(5) reinforce national and state standards of effective teaching practice.

MN Stat. 122A.60, subd 2


B. Preparation in the Area of Early Intervention

Policy describing the district's procedures for implementing the use of conditional interventions with pupils. Policies must be reviewed regularly and shall include, at a minimum, the following components:

  1. on going personnel development activities for all staff, contracted personnel, and volunteers who work with pupils with disabilities that:

    1. promote the use of positive approaches;

  1. provide an awareness of how to limit the use of aversive and deprivation procedures;

  2. provide an awareness of how to avoid abuse of such procedures;

  3. provide an awareness of specific cautions for the use of conditional procedures with specific populations of pupils or for the use of certain procedures; and

  4. provide staff training requirements for the design and use of all conditional interventions prior to their use;

MN R. 3525.1100, subp.2(F)(1)


C. Training in Data Privacy Policy and Procedures

All persons collecting or using personally identifiable information must receive training or instruction regarding the State's policies and procedures under 300.123 and 34 C.F.R. part 99

C.F.R. 300.623(c)

All district special education staff receive training on data privacy during new teacher training. This information is also included in staff handbooks and at various times by either the district or ASEC as appropriate.

D. Staff Training for Use of Restrictive Procedures

Restrictive procedures may be used only by a licensed special education teacher, school social worker, school psychologist, behavior analyst certified by the National Behavior Analyst Certification Board, a person with a master's degree in behavior analysis, other licensed education professional, paraprofessional under section 120B.363, or mental health professional under section 245.4871, subdivision 27, who has completed the training program outlined below.

MN Statue 125A.0942, subd. 2(a)


Staff who use restrictive procedures shall complete training in the following skills and knowledge areas:


(1) positive behavioral interventions;

(2) communicative intent of behaviors;

(3) relationship building;

(4) alternatives to restrictive procedures, including techniques to identify events and environmental factors that may escalate behavior;

(5) de-escalation methods;

(6) standards for using restrictive procedures;

(7) obtaining emergency medical assistance;

(8) the physiological and psychological impact of physical holding and seclusion;

(9) monitoring and responding to a child's physical signs of distress when physical holding is being used; and

(10) recognizing the symptoms of and interventions that may cause positional asphyxia when physical holding is used.

MN Statue 125A, subd. 5


District staff who are a part of the Area Special Education Cooperative participate in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training prior to being authorized to use restrictive procedures. CPI aligns with Minnesota Standards for Restrictive Procedures.



Last modified March 2011