Rhode Island: Working in Education in Rhode Island

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Teacher's Aides

Rhode Island is one of eleven states that have professional development programs for paraprofessionals and one of twelve states in which requirements for paraprofessionals exceed federal requirements.

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has a multi-faceted approach to supporting the quality and effective use of teacher assistants. RIDE does not certify teacher assistants at the state level. Instead, the state has qualifications for teacher assistants that school districts follow in hiring. School districts may have higher qualifications requirements than these minimum state qualifications.

In order to provide professional development that addresses more specific competencies for teacher assistants, RIDE has established state guidelines for teacher assistants who:

  • Work with students who have English as a second language.
  • Work with students with speech/language impairments under the supervision of a classroom teacher.
  • Work with students who have behaviors that interfere with learning and/or relationships.
  • Assist with community-based instruction.
  • Support students with diverse academic needs.

Teacher Assistant Networks provide paraprofessionals with professional development and opportunities to network with teacher assistants from other districts. RIDE publishes a quarterly newsletter with current information related to teacher assistants and the people with whom they work. A number of organizations in Rhode Island offer free or low cost training on topics of interest to teacher’s aides, teacher assistants, and other paraprofessionals.

Education Management

A grant funded by the Strategic Action for Schools District Leaders (SAELP) of the Wallace Foundation has allowed Rhode Island to focus on an alignment of leadership development with the state's system of accountability.

The Rhode Island Instructional Leadership Academy provides training in current research and best practice for three groups of education leaders: veteran principals, aspiring principals, and teacher leaders. Leading Learning Communities offers training for aspiring principals and teacher leaders.

Recognizing the need for highly-trained education leaders, RIDE has developed a number of projects for training, preparing, mentoring, and encouraging new principals, including:

  • The Principal Residency Network, a non-traditional state-approved leadership preparation program that prepares participants to be principals. After successful completion of a one-year internship, aspiring leaders receive principal certification.
  • The Exploratory Program for Teacher Leaders provides teachers with administrative experience with veteran principals to encourage them to become principals.
  • The Administrative Intern Program links teachers interested in becoming principals with veteran principals in their communities.

Technology Education

RIDE recommends the use of the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for determining what students, teachers, and administrators should know and be able to do in order to effectively use technology in schools. Administrators play a pivotal role in determining how well educators use technology in their schools. The NETS for Administrators defines what standards administrators should meet in order to fulfill their roles as leaders in the effective use of technology.

Instructional coordinators, also called instructional materials directors or education specialists, develop instructional materials, incorporate technology into instruction, and help teachers develop curriculum. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates mean annual wage for instructional coordinators in Rhode Island at $59,770 in May 2008.

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