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Carson City School Board workshop clarifies paraprofessionals’ roles

By Jessica Garcia jgarcia@nevadaappeal.com

The Carson City School Board received more information clarifying the roles of the district’s teachers on special assignment and paraprofessionals and how they provide instructional support in specific ways at the April 7 meeting of the trustees.

The workshop provided insight on a number of grant or district funded positions provided to school sites as allowed for by statute and are based on free and reduced lunch data. Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services, speaking on grant funding sources for instructional support staff across the district’s 13 sites, explained the professionals who fill the positions frequently assist with academic interventions, improve parent and family engagement or other psychological or social needs to students as principals request for their site.

In all, the district has 26 TOSA positions, all grant funded, and 184 paraprofessionals, with 39 general funded and 145 grant funded. Administrators at the various sites will request positions based on need and funding availability.

School ratings also impact how many positions a certain school can have. Four- or five-star schools are limited by how many TOSAs, or parapros, as they’re also called, that they’re able to keep on board, Fuson said.

Bordewich-Bray Elementary, for example, will have three TOSAs and 23 parapros dedicated on site because there are quite a few students with autism enrolled in the program whereas a school like Seeliger Elementary has only one TOSA and nine parapros devoted to its school.

Fuson told board members she wanted them to understand the funding mechanisms and responsibilities, and she provided an overview of the positions at various sites and how they’re funded.

The request for Tuesday’s workshop came after current TOSAs and paraprofessionals spoke out at the March 10 board meeting. A large number of employees expressed concerns about the possible removal of these positions on children and impacts to teachers in the classroom without extra support.