Planning Center, Paraprofessionals Provide Multitude Of Benefits
“What is okay to do in the classroom?” asked Fletcher Elementary School Planning Center Paraprofessional, Lynette Mujica Nieves, to a small group of students.
“Be respectful,” said one student.
“What is a second thing we can do?” asked Mujica Nieves.
“Yes, we need to be respectful and listen. Remember, we talked about ‘stop, think and act’ that it is important to think before you speak,” said Mujica Nieves.
Mujica Nieves works with Fletcher students on social and emotional skills including teaching respect, self-control, anger management, deep breathing for anxiety and much more. Part of her job is teaching children coping mechanisms to help deal with challenges they face every day, but also to be another caring adult the children can visit if they have a concern or just need to talk. Mujia Nieves often invites students into the Planning Center just to have lunch and chat.
“I love my job and helping the kids,” said Mujica Nieves. “I see so much change in the children when they come here. There are always challenges but they allow me to figure out the best way to motivate them for success.”
Mujica Nieves is on the Fletcher Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Tier 2 team so that she can help identify students who need more intensive help. In addition to social and emotional skills, Mujica Nieves works with children who might have attendance concerns.
“It’s not that they don’t want to be here, it just might be a situation that is out of their control. My job is to help find a solution with the families and give them the connections they need so that their child comes to school every day. I am here to help everyone be successful.”
Mujica Nieves, along with all of the Planning Center paraprofessionals in the district, have taken in-depth training with Maureen Diehl, who is JPS Coordinator of Students Services, giving them tools and options to use when working with the children.
“It is very individualized to the particular child’s needs,” said Mujica Nieves. “Some kids work better one-on-one and others thrive in a group setting. I make sure that I do what is best for each child so that they can succeed in life.”