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Paraprofessionals Essential To School Team

Pictured are Lincoln Elementary School paraprofessionals.

Lincoln Elementary School is fortunate to have 11 paraprofessionals who, as a team, work to make staff and student’s school day a happy and safe one. Paraprofessional is a fancy word to describe amazing educational workers who surround and help children every day in many different ways. Lincoln paraprofessionals are: Lindsey Anderson – UPK paraprofessional in Kim Knight’s room, Amy Southwick – UPK paraprofessional in Betsy Homan’s room, Michelle Steenburn – paraprofessional in Jennifer Whitacre’s self-contained classroom, Lisette Colon – paraprofessional in Sally Cammarata’s self-contained classroom and Marlene Piatz, Heidi Stenander, Brenda Dominey, Sue Christian and Laurie Quattrone – building paraprofessionals.

“Paraprofessionals are essential to running a school. We could not physically run Lincoln School without them,” said Principal Katie Russo. “Our paraprofessionals know exactly what to do. They are problem-solvers in the day-to-day operation of our school. I am so lucky because my paraprofessionals take care of everything before I even have to ask. I never really understood the depth and range of what a paraprofessional does every day until I became a principal. Whether it is supervising 75 elementary school students during lunch – four periods in a row to filling in as a substitute teacher when we need them to provide emotional support to students that need it most, our paraprofessionals care deeply about our school and more importantly, for our kids.”

A paraprofessional may work with your child one-on-one or in small groups to reinforce what he or she learned earlier from the teacher. But this is just one way that Lincoln School paraprofessionals help. They also supervise the cafeteria, create bulletin boards, run the PBIS School Store for student rewards, work as substitute teachers, provide academic support for students based on teacher’s targets and help with classroom preparation. One of the important jobs of Lincoln’s paraprofessionals is to teach children the proper behavior in a school environment. If a student is having difficulty being part of a classroom, or not understanding how to act during meal times, paraprofessionals can work with him or her to instruct them on what good school behavior looks like without disrupting the entire class. They give much needed one-on-one time to Lincoln students.

“I have been here 30-plus years and we work so well together at Lincoln – like a family – both inside the classroom and outside too,” said Lincoln Paraprofessional Marlene Piatz. “It is our job to notice when something is needed in the school and take care of it. We support our staff and enhance our kids’ learning experiences. We are here for our Lincoln family, but most importantly we are here for our kids.”

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