Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed January 23-27 to be Paraprofessional Recognition Week in the state of Minnesota. His proclamation states there are over 20,000 paraprofessionals working in Minnesota schools and performing a variety of integral functions. The St. Michael-Albertville School District employs 170 paraprofessionals for Special Education, the English Language Learner program, transportation, office, planning room, media, Kids Play, ECFE and instructional paras who supervise recess, help students who need additional support and high flyers who need additional challenges.
“I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our paras for making STMA a fantastic place to teach and learn,” said Superintendent Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault.
Big Woods Principal, Lee Brown, said her school’s paraprofessionals are highly qualified, effective, and go out of their way to ensure students are successful.
“I count my lucky stars every day,” Brown said. “They have students’ best interest in mind and are here because they love the kids.”
Brown listed several different functions her school’s paras do each day, some of which include working to form connections with students, helping to get more students involved in recess activities, keeping students safe in cross walks and during drop off and pick up, providing activities for students who need to take a break from the classroom and helping students develop soft skills like independence and confidence.
Foucault said the district’s schools recognized paraprofessionals in a variety of ways over the course of the week. Some gave thank you notes and small treats in their mailboxes, honored paras during morning announcements, treated them to breakfast or lunch or presented paras with a thank you poster signed by teachers.
“The great things we accomplish each and every year are because of you,” Foucault said in her message to the district’s paras. “Please know you are valued and appreciated more than you can imagine.”