No Child Left Behind

What is ESEA and NCLB?

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) describes the federal requirements for public schools.  The most recent version of the law, known as the No Child Behind Act (NCLB), changes  the federal role of education.  The law puts more resources into states to support public schools in exchange for increased accountability. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) provides a comprehensive framework for improving student achievement and reforming instructional programs for students. A key ingredient in the formula for improving instruction and student learning is educator quality. This new law looks at educator quality through employment qualifications for teachers and paraprofessionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Alaska State Paraprofessional Standards and Regulations



Q: Why is the term Title I often used  when talking about this Act?

A: Title I is the largest elementary and secondary education program in the federal budget. It provides assistance to improve the teaching and learning of children in high-poverty schools to enable those children to meet challenging standards. Title I is funded through the ESEA Act.

Q: Who is a paraprofessional?

A: The law does not define a paraprofessional. However, the act does specify the duties of paraprofessionals. These duties may include:

·       Providing one-on-one tutoring for students if tutoring is provided at a time when

the student did not have access to a teacher;

·       Assisting with classroom management;

·       Conducting parental involvement activities;

·       Providing support in library or media centers;

·       Acting as a translator; or 

·       Providing instructional services to a student.

Q: How are paraprofessionals impacted by the legislation?

A: New criteria for employment have been implemented for paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals in a local school district receiving money from Title I federal programs will have to meet higher standards. These standards include

·          completion of two years of study (48 credits) at an institution of higher learning or,

·          an associate’s (or higher) degree or;

·          meet a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate, through a formal assessment, knowledge of and ability to assist in reading, writing and mathematics instruction.

Par Paraprofessionals hired after January 2002 will need to meet these criteria prior to employment. Paraprofessionals hired before January 2002 have four years to complete the requirements (January 2006). Also, effective January 2002, all paraprofessionals in schools  must have a secondary high school diploma or its equivalent, and provide instruction under the direct supervision of a teacher.

Q: What is meant as rigorous assessment for paraprofessionals?

A: The State of Alaska has approved the Help Assessment from Educational Resources, Inc. to meet part of the rigorous assessment requirements. 

Q: Can a paraprofessional substitute years of experience or staff development activities in lieu of education or degree requirements?

A: Paraprofessionals may take the test described above instead of meeting the education or degree requirements.

Q: What is the district doing to provide training/educational opportunities for paraprofessionals?

A: The District has established a Paraprofessional Support Program to coordinate courses on test taking strategies , study skills, reading, writing and math.   ASD is also working on test preparation workshops to assist instructional employees in passing the state approved test.  These workshops will be provided at no cost for all TOTEM employees and will be offered year round and in a variety of time slots.

 Q: Will additional funding be available to assist paraprofessionals in meeting the requirements for employment?

A:   The District has established a tuition reimbursement program for TOTEM instructional employees in Title I schools. 

  • Qualified instructional employees will be reimbursed $150 per credit hour upon successful completion (C or better) of approved courses (Associate of Arts Degree in Education that may articulate to a Bachelors Degree in Education) taken at University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, or online from University of Alaska Southeast.  A list of these programs and courses will be available from the Training and Professional Development (TPD) website on the ASD intranet, TOTEM website, or by contacting the TITLE I Department at 742-4494.
  • Other ASD sponsored courses, pre-approved by TITLE I and identified on the TPD  website, will also be eligible for the $150 per credit hour reimbursement.
  • Qualified instructional employees may meet the NCLB requirements by taking courses from other accredited universities, but will not be eligible for the reimbursement from ASD.

 Q: Are paraprofessionals employed in non-Title I schools affected by the law?

A: The requirement of two years of higher education, or an associate’s degree, or successful completion of a formal assessment is not a requirement for paraprofessionals in non-Title I schools under the No Child Left Behind Act. However, every school district that receives Title I funds must ensure that all paraprofessionals have a secondary high school diploma or its equivalent. There is also a strong possibility that IDEA, the governing regulations for special education, may adopt similar regulations in the next year.