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News >  K-12 education

‘A heart for working with students’: Spokane Public Schools needs more paraeducators

Aug. 4, 2021 Updated Wed., Aug. 4, 2021 at 7:54 p.m.

The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street.  (JESSE TINSLEY/The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street. (JESSE TINSLEY/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Public Schools could use a few more paraeducators this fall and will hold a job fair Thursday night in hopes of hiring up to 40 people.

“Paraeducator is one position that we’re always hiring for,” said Stephanie Busch, director of staffing and human resources at the district, which typically has 500 paraeducators on staff.

Those numbers dropped slightly last year during the pandemic, as some paraeducators opted to stay home with their children.

However, the district isn’t suffering an acute shortage, Busch said. “We’re just looking for some good matches. It’s good for prospective applicants to understand the position.”

In Spokane and other school districts, paraeducators assist teachers and carry out daily tasks and activities in accordance with the school curriculum.

Duties include helping in planning and scheduling class activities, education programs, encouraging a healthy learning environment, monitoring and engaging with students, and providing clerical and administrative support as required.

“We’re looking for those who have a heart for working with students and helping them grow,” said Becky Ramsey, the district’s director of special education. “Those are the kind of people we want to attract to the position.”

The pay isn’t great: $15.73 per hour to start and rising to $19.48 after four years. However, paraeducators also have summers off and typically work only 6 ½ hours per day.

Also, requirements are modest: the job requires either the equivalent of an associate’s degree or passing a core competency test.

Ramsey and Busch also noted that, for many people, the paraeducator position serves as a stepping stone to full-time teaching positions.

Job fair attendees should bring a copy of their resume, plus a list of references.

The job fair runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at NEWTech, 4141 N. Regal St.

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