click here to skip navigation and move directly to contenthome Para eLink: Where Minnesota's Paraprofessionals Learn Online  
   competencies | tutorial | glossary | help | site index 
about online training

online resources


technical notes

core areas

specialized areas



Core Competency Area 1

competencies       explore section       review       area evaluation

Area Introduction

The special education system is based on a variety of foundations. In order to understand the special education system, it is important to have knowledge and understanding of the basic premises that underlie this system. Furthermore, it is important for you to gain an understanding of these concepts because they are directly related to your job as a paraprofessional. These foundations provide the framework for the roles of the various individuals who work within this system.

Competency units in area 1 address the knowledge and skills regarding:

  • similarities and differences related to culture, including cultural history, family values, child rearing practices, religion, views on disability, and cultural courtesies.
  • cultural biases, institutional racism (how institutions and agencies support or discourage different cultures).
  • how cultural diversity affects your work with children and adults with disabilities and their families.
  • how the role of paraprofessionals differs from the roles of other individuals who work within this system.
  • the concepts of "free and appropriate education" and "least restrictive environment".
  • laws and regulations that govern special education.

As a whole, core area 1 covers information that will help you effectively meet the responsibilities in your role as a paraprofessional. It is important for you to be aware of your responsibilities in relation to the legal and district requirements that govern special education and know how to practice your job responsibilities within those requirements. Successfully completing this area will give you the foundational knowledge and skills to complement the daily work you do as a paraprofessional.

(Clicking the hyperlinked competency code, e.g., 1K3B, will take you to the associated training unit.)

1. Philosophical, Historical, and Legal Foundations of Education
1.1 (1K1B) Sensitivity to the beliefs, traditions, and values across cultures and how these impact the relationships between children, families, and schooling.
1.2 (1K2C) Awareness of the human and legal rights and responsibilities of parents and children/youth as they relate to students.
1.3 (1K3B) Understanding of the distinctions between roles and responsibilities of professionals, paraprofessionals, and support personnel.
1.4 (1K4C) Understanding of the purposes and goals of education and instruction for all students.
1.5 (1K5B, 1S1C) Knowledge of relevant laws, rules, regulations, and local district policies and procedures to ensure paraprofessionals work within the parameters.


pdf iconpdf     text iconrtf

Your facilitator may ask you to turn in a written copy of the area review, in which case you can use either the pdf or rtf file. If your facilitator wants you to submit an electronic file, download the rtf file and open it in a Word Processor.

Area Evaluation


top of page