Welcome to the Department of Special Services Website

Passaic City School District

101 Passaic Avenue

Passaic, NJ 07055

Phone # 973-470-5211

Fax # 973-591-1645

2012-2013 STAFF

Chad Leverett - Assistant Supervisor of Special Education - cleverett@passaic-city.k12.nj.us 

Gissel Cristobal - Assistant Supervisor of Special Education - gcristobal@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Jeffrey Russo - Elementary Department Chair - jerusso@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Barbara Hudzik - Non Public Liaison  Special Services - bhudzik@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Nieves Decena - Coordinator Quality Assurance - ndecena@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Lori Whelan - Executive Assistant of Special Services - lwhelan@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Lissette De La Rosa - Administrative Assistant to Special Services - ldelarosa@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

Nellie Provost - Administrative Assistant to Special Services - nprovost@passaic-city.k12.nj.us  

Maria Medina - Administrative Assistant to Special Services - mmedina@passaic-city.k12.nj.us

  Paraprofessional Page

This page is dedicated to the tasks, responsibilities and challenges of the Passaic Paraprofessional (or Para-educator).  You will find your job description, specific daily responsibilities, behavioral and instructional tips and information about resource people. 

The Passaic Board of Education now has four professors in residence (PIR's).  They are all affiliated with William Paterson University.  They will be in the district to conduct staff development and assist with any teaching challenges you might encounter during the year. Their names and email addresses are:

Christine Besko-Maughan ( Beskoc@wpunj.edu) - Schools Nos. 1, 3, 5, & 16

Bernard Jones ( jonesb11@wpunj.edu ) - Schools Nos. 6, 8, 9. & Learning Center

Jacqui McConnell ( mcconnellj@wpunj.edu ) - Schools Nos.  7, 14, 15 & Lincoln Middle School

Cynthia Northington-Purdie ( northingtonc@wpunj.edu ) - Schools Nos. 2, 10, 11, & High School 




Job Title:   Special Education Paraprofessional

Reports To: School Administrator, Supervisor of Special Educationand/or Teacher

Supervises: None


Assist the teaching staff members with general and instructional-related activities.  Aides shall be directly responsible to assigned teacher supervisors, and their instructional-related duties shall be reinforcement in nature.

The position of special education paraprofessional is vital in providing student services which are essential to maximizing pupil progress and performance.  The aide must, in every way, function as an extension of the teacher's efforts as the educational leader in the classroom.

Although the teacher remains the educational professional who bears the legal responsibility for the classroom environment, the special education aide must make every effort to support and enhance the instructional program.

Although there may be many other activities in which an aide may become involved on a daily basis, the following should provide a comprehensive listing of essential functions which an aide may be required to perform.


The Special Education Paraprofessional shall:

Complete at least sixty (60) college credits in a teacher education program.

•1.   Complete Federal Form I-9 in compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

•2.   Provide evidence that a criminal record history check has been conducted by the N.J. State Police and clearance has been given or during the initial six month period will provide a sworn statement that the individual has not been convicted of a crime or a disorderly person offense in accordance with 18A:6-7.1.

•3.   Speak proper English.

•4.   Provide proof of good moral character.

•5.   Possess interpersonal skills to relate to pupils, parents, community, administration, teaching staff members and support staff members.

Exhibit a personality compatible with working with pupils, staff, administration, parents and the community.

•6.   Prove that health is adequate to fulfill job functions and responsibilities with reasonable accommodation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 12101 and in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6:29-

•7.   Be computer literate (preferred).

•8.   Pass the state required Mantoux Intradermal Tuberculin Test as required by N.J.A.C. 6:29-2.3.


•1.   Resume.

•2.   A minimum of three letters of reference from former employers, teachers, professors or other professional sources.

•3.   College transcripts.


The Special Education Professional shall be employed under the following terms:

•1.   Work year of ten months.

•2.   Salary or hourly wage as specified in the written contractual agreement with the Board.

•3.   Benefits as specified in the written contractual agreement with the Board.

•4.   Leave time as specified in the written contractual agreement with the Board.


The Special Education Paraprofessional shall:


•1.   Assist teacher in planning learning activities.

•2.   Observe children's progress and problems.

•3.   Help to evaluate whether activities have achieved their desired outcomes.

•4.   Work with children in various learning centers.

•5.   Listen to children telling stories or talk about themselves and their interests.

•6.   Help children learn to use classroom materials (scissors, paste, puzzles).

•7.   Show pupils how to operate equipment.

•8.   Help individual children understand the teacher's directions.

•9.   Participating with the class during group time.

•10. Work with individual children.

•11. Carry out planned activities with a few students.

•12. Assist teacher with a small group working on a special project.

•13. Read or tell stories to children.

•14. Help children choose library books.

•15. Help an individual pupil look up information in a book.

•16. Sing with a group of children or play instrumental accompaniment.

•17. Observe quietly while teacher is working with children, but assist when needed.

•18. Carry out an activity with the children planned by the teacher, for example, serve cookies and juice.

Parent Contact

All communication with parents by special education paraprofessionals will be under the direction of the classroom teacher.

•1.   Properly communicate with parents - what to say, not to say, etc.

•2. Participate in group and individual conferences held between teacher and parents.


•1. Redirect a restless or inattentive child into appropriate activities.

•2. Help pupils move from one activity to another in the classroom.

•3. Aid children in sharing, participating and choosing constructive activities.

•4. Assist in helping children learn acceptable behavior.

•5. Assist in helping children learn acceptable behavior.

•6.  Help pupils with their clothing and grooming and health habits.

•7. Help children use the bathroom correctly.

•8.  Assist in supervising children before and after class.

•9. Get children seated when class begins.

•10. Assist teacher on field trips.

•11. Push children who are in wheelchairs.

•12. Assist in supervising playground.

•13.  Check to see that children take their homework, belongings, coats and notices home when they leave.

Duties Related in Specific Disabilities of Children in an Educational Program

Hearing Impairment

•1. If working with hearing impaired children, develop good listening and attending skills.

•2. Be able to change hearing aid batteries and put an ear insert in child's ear - make sure aid is turned to appropriate setting.

•3. Test batteries.

Motor Problems

•1.  Walk children for exercise during breaks if child need assistance. 

•2. Render any special assistance needed by the child such as:

  a)  pick-up dropped pencil;  

  b)  push children who cannot manipulate wheelchair; helps to the bathroom;

  c)  sharpen pencils;

  d)  cut out pictures;

  e)  turn pages in the child's book;

  f)  write child's name on his/her paper;

  g)  assist child in drinking from cup.

•3.   Assist with locking and unlocking braces.

•4. Observe child in physical therapy and occupational therapy to learn expectations for child in these areas in class.

Vision Impairment

•1.   Get the child with vision problems to become involved in the learning environment.

•2.   Determine to what extent expectations in hand skills must be modified if child is visually impaired.

•3.   Determine size of print and type of pictures and other visual aides the child may use successfully.


•1.   Check room ventilation, lighting and temperature.

•2.   Prepare learning centers and work areas.

•3. Gather and prepare materials.

•4. Prepare classrooms for next activity.

•5. Help pupils clean up and put things away.

•6. Help children care for plants, animals and other living displays.

•7. Assist teacher in preparing snacks.

•8. Assist teacher in getting classrooms ready for the next day.

•9. Make arrangements for the use of equipment and materials.

•10. Setup, operate and return audio-visual equipment.

•11. Maintain general attractiveness of the classroom.

•12. Help to ensure cleanliness and good order in the classroom.

•13. Arrange the room for daily work and special occasions.

•14. Arrange furniture for various learning activities and experiences.

•15. Organize classroom closets.

•16. Wipe up spills.

•17. Maintain supply of cups, Kleenex and paper towels.

•18. Get refreshments from cupboard

Clerical Tasks

•1. Assist the teacher in completing forms to request certain materials, learn where and how teaching materials are obtained.

•2.   Check teacher's mailbox and put notices on teacher's desk.

•3. Answer door if someone comes during class.

•4. Secure and deliver messages and materials.

•5. File teacher's materials.

•6. Check roll daily.

•7. Possess typing skills for preparation of instructional materials, correcting class work and homework and confer with the teacher concerning specific student problems.

Materials and Equipment

•1.   Prepare materials on copier, computer or typewriter.

•2.   Take proper care of materials and keep materials in order.

•3.   Catalog classroom library books.

•4. Catalog new materials.

•5.   Decorate bulletin boards.

•6.   Draw stencils.

•7.   Operate audio-visual aids equipment and computers.

•8.   Keep the classroom calendar for daily and special events.

•9. Assist in making special or unique arrangements for the day.

•10. Cut and draw pictures for use by the children.

•11. Prepare materials for class use under the direction of the teacher.

The below attachments are a selection of behavior modification charts that can be used daily or weekly.  In keeping with your recent ABA training, these charts provide immediate, visual feedback to students regarding their behavior and progress.  Feel free to reproduce and copy these as needed.  The attachments are at the end of this site:  Tree, Dog, and IronMan.

Health Activities

Assist the classroom teacher in ensuring that all students maintain an acceptable level of hygiene.  For those students who are not yet toilet trained, the aide will change diapers when necessary and ensure that the child is kept clean during school hours.  All changing of diapers will take place in accordance with State guidelines and district procedures.  The school nurse will provide necessary training.


The Special Education Paraprofessional, unless reasonable accommodations can be made, shall:

1.     Possess sufficient strength to lift items as much as 40 pounds and be able to move them as far as 50 feet at a time.

•2.   Possess stamina to remain on their feet for periods as long as two hours without discomfort.

•3.   Possess stamina to remain seated for periods as long as two (2) hours without discomfort.

•4.   Possess visual acuity and stamina to work at a computer monitor for up to half of each work day.

•5.   Possess the ability to orally communicate with pupils in proper English.

•6.   Possess normal or corrected eyesight.

•7.   Possess normal or corrected hearing.

•8.   Possess the ability to restrain pupils when necessary.


1. Occasional exposure to temperature and weather extremes.

•2.  Exposure to air-conditioned facilities.


The holder of the positions of Special Education Paraprofessional shall be evaluated by the Principal in accordance with Policy No. 4220, Regulation No. 4220, this Job Description, and such other criteria as shall be established by the Board of Education.

The signature below is acknowledgement that the employee has received a copy of this job description and understands her/his role and responsibilities.

Employee Name: _____________________________  

Employee Signature:_______________________________ Date:  ________________ 

Witness Name and Signature: ______________________ Date:  ________________


  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials, in order to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Receive in-district credit for workshop hours.
  • Observe students' performance and record relevant data to assess progress.

As promised, attached below is the new, standardized weekly report sheet that I have created with the help of Eileen Osieja and your valuable input.  Use it as a template to write your weekly reports.  Print out as many as you need directly from this site.  The cover sheet contains a brief explanation.  If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at northingtonc@wpunj.edu .

To request a conference with the Child Study Team, please print and complete the attached form, "Request for Child Study Team Conference" listed below.


Q: If one has a substitute's license, can they be left alone in the classroom with students? 

 A :  No.  If one is hired for the day as a substitute, then they have the responsibilities of a substitute.  However when operating as a paraprofessional, one cannot be left responsible for the students in the class in a teacher's absence.

Q:  Does a consultative paraprofessional have the same job description as a regular paraprofessional?

A:  Yes.  The job description for a special education paraprofessional (*see above) is quite thorough and accounts for observing, monitoring, and typing documents.

Q: During the school year, can my assignment be changed?  If yes, do I have the right to refuse the new assignment? 

A:  Your assignment can be changed during the school year.  The supervisor in charge can make that decision based on population, students' special needs, changes in class size, etc.  If you refuse the new assignment, your refusal should be based on issues other than what is specified in your job description (please scroll up).

Q:  Why don't we get professional development credit hours (or points) the way the teachers do?

A:  Professional Development hours are required by the State of New Jersey as part of the teacher's program.  It is not a state requirement for paraprofessionals.  Passaic is in compliance with the State in this matter.

Q:  It is hard to get my student to do her work.  What can I offer her as an "incentive" to get her work done?

A: Try some of these interactive websites.  They offer games in math, language arts and science.  Show the student one or two of the games for about 3 minutes.  Then shut off the computer and offer the game as a reward for completed work.  Here is a sample:

•-   Reading and Language Arts   http://www.primarygames.com/reading.htm

•-   Spelling Scramble and Word Search http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/spelling.htm

•-   Math Practice (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions) http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html

•-   Elementary Science Games http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html

Q: Are there any websites for games for the Spanish speaking bilingual students?

A: Yes. Try this site: p://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/adventure/index.htm


Consultation as a Service - INFORMATION

For a powerpoint presentation entitled: "Consultation as a Service," please proceed to the bottom of this page and click on the link.



The consultants at School No. 11 requested information regarding current trends in educating autistic students.  The following websites provide video clips, articles, lesson plans, and other teaching helps.

- This website provides a resource for teachers and paras who work specifically with autistic students.  There are lesson ideas, pictures of completed work and current articles.  http://autismclassroom.ning.com

- This website has a series of short video clips that deal with various aspects of teaching autistic students including Inclusion and in-class support.

- This website contains a variety of references regarding autistic spectrum disorders (e.g., asperger's).  There are current articles and medical information that you might find useful.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308090525.htm

- Here is a database of reproducible handouts and lesson ideas for learning disabled and developmentally delayed students.  Most of the resources are grouped by age, grade, and subject.  http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/as/asteachersites.html


Intervention and Referral Services formerly known as PAC (Pupil Assistance Committee)

The Intervention and Referral Services (I & RS) is an adult-centered, multi-disciplinary team in each school that is composed of building administrators, school counselors, classroom teachers, and support staff.  They welcome requests for assistance from school staff or parents that are experiencing educational difficulties with their student(s), in which traditional attempts to ameliorate the situation have not met with success

Resource Manual for Intervention and Referral Services