Strengthening Children's Lives Through Science and Community Engagement

Improving paraprofessionals instructional and behavioral support in urban Elementary school settings: A Research Practitioner Partnership

Paraprofessionals are often the frontline to academic and behavior support for students with disabilities and are essential for optimizing the outcomes for those students most at-risk for academic failure therefore the level of paraprofessional competence can greatly impact the educational accomplishments of these students. Despite this, little evidence exists regarding specific training needs or efficacious training mechanisms to ensure delivery of effective instructional and behavior management practices. The JGCP –Kansas City Kansas Public School (KCKPS) Partnership is committed to improving paraprofessionals’ capacity to deliver evidence based practices with procedural integrity. Thus, the partnership will (1) Identify the perceived level of knowledge, range of responsibilities, time use, and training needs of elementary paraprofessionals currently employed by KCKPS; (2) Evaluate the extent to which paraprofessionals are implementing effective instructional practices and how this correlates with outcomes; and (3) Test the effectiveness of training protocols addressing identified areas of need. This will be accomplished through survey methods, direct observation, focus groups, and pilot testing of proposed training methods to address targeted skills.  

Initial Analyses: Descriptive statistics will be used to summarize item level responses to surveys. Chi-square analyses will be conducted to examine differences in job-related tasks associated with setting, paraprofessional, and student level variables. Correlations will be used to determine the relationship between how often paraprofessionals perform (e.g., daily vs. yearly) a given task and how prepared they feel in executing a given task. Additionally multiple regression analysis will be used to examine how years of experience, classroom type, student disability incidence, perceived teacher support (e.g., co-planning) and training received predict paraprofessional perceived levels of knowledge. For the observation study, micro-level, conditional probabilities of paraprofessional behavior and focal child behavior given ecological arrangements within and across observations will be calculated. Correlations will be used to determine the relationship of paraprofessional self-report knowledge of evidence-based instructional practices and actual use of these practices during reading and math activities. Poisson regression analysis will be used to determine if the total amount of evidence-based instructional practices used is related to teacher support, training and overall knowledge, paraprofessional years of experience, classroom type, setting, academic activity, and student disability incidence. Pilot studies, utilizing single-case design, will be analyzed using a combination of visual and statistical analysis to evaluate the functional relationship between the partnership training model and paraprofessional implementation of targeted skill. Differences between baseline and intervention in terms of variability, mean shifts, trend, and stability will be visually evaluated as well as overlap of data, “immediacy of effect”, and data similarities across series. Tau effect size will be calculated for each series in the MBD studies. 


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  • Lead Application Developer/Research Engineer: We are seeking a full-stack Application Developer to lead development of single-page web applications, as well as maintain, troubleshoot and improve applications already in production. Existing applications at JGCP include learning management systems, web apps that help manage and report child outcomes to guide teacher’s instructional decisions, and mobile apps to support parent-teacher communication and student self-management. As a member of JGCP’s Technology Innovation, Development & Research (TIDR) lab, the developer will gain experience across multiple research projects. Review of applications will begin Sept 18, 2018 and continue until position is filled. For more information and how to apply, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Postdoctoral Researchers (Early Intervention): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) is recruiting 2 postdoctoral researchers interested in developing expertise in designing, implementing and disseminating research carried out while developing evidence-based practices with community partners focused on early intervention, early care, and early education settings. The postdoctoral position is a full-time (100% FTE), 2 years, research-dedicated fellowship. Postdoctoral researchers will learn and develop new advances in the prevention and intervention of learning and behavior problems in young children. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Student Hourly (Data Collectors): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, a community-based research institute affiliated with the University of Kansas, is conducting a research program aimed at evaluating how a Practice Based Coaching model (Literacy 3D) can be used to enhance the literacy focus of early childhood (EC) teachers through data-driven decision making and strategies that boost children’s opportunities to respond in literacy activities. We are seeking 4-10 student hourly employees who will be responsible for data collection activities with preschool students and teachers, including administering literacy assessments to children, observing classroom instruction and interactions, and assisting in the preparation and delivery of data reports in the Kansas City Metro, as well as data management and entry at our offices in downtown Kansas City, KS. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Assistant/Associate Research Professor - Statistician: The KU Life Span Institute at Juniper Gardens is seeking to hire an Assistant or Associate Research Professor with statistical skills to work in a team environment on a range of educational and applied research projects. For more information and to apply, click here.  KU is an EO/AAE
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