Para Professionals: Retention Rate less than 50% Shouts Volumes

Why you should care about Skoda attacking Support Staff
Published by Jim DiDomenico at 7:00 am under Association News,Board Notes

One of the most destructive decisions made by Skoda and the board majority was to dramatically alter compensation to support staff, making D86 one of the least attractive districts to work for. This reckless decision has had a profoundly negative impact on students.

Most of the district’s support staff are paraprofessionals whose job it is to aid students with special needs, our most vulnerable students. After Skoda and the Board lowered para-professional pay, D86 is struggling to hire and retain qualified candidates. Turnover among para-professionals has destabilized the services our schools can provide.

When a new aide is hired and then quits six weeks later, this has a direct negative impact on students. Students with autism, for example, greatly benefit from routine and consistency. Instead of having a trained, caring, consistent aid working with them throughout the day, many of our high needs students have had new para-professionals (or temporary subs) on an almost monthly basis.

Imagine if your student had five different math teachers throughout the year, one quitting after the next. The loss of continuity, the loss of familiarity and, for many students, the loss of someone they trust, can ruin any chance at learning.

But for many special needs students, their aide is with them for every class. Without a doubt, this decision has seriously hurt our students’ education. In their radical mission to make D86 less competitive, the Skoda majority have not demonstrated leadership to provide adequate services to our most needy students. Instead, the Skoda majority of Skoda, Manley, Corcoran and Cassini have made decisions that harm our most vulnerable students.

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