PD 4 Paras on-Demand Part 1 Course Dashboard

Welcome and Introductions From Your Course Facilitators

Dr. Julie Causton

Introduction Video

Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

Introduction Video

How To Navigate This Course

Welcome again to our PD 4 Paras on-demand series. There are a total of four lessons, which we refer to as sessions. You can start with the first one about making sense of labels, or with the topic of your choosing.

1. Each session has many pieces and parts. The first of which is a link to a YouTube video (each under 60 minutes). These videos were edited from our live sessions of this course. You are encouraged to journal as you go and then come over to private FaceBook group and share how you would have responded to any of the questions and reflections we pose.

2. Each session has a video link as well as an audio only version (in case you want to move around while you learn), a transcript for reading and note taking, and what is called a graphic record of the key concepts covered. We hope these will aide in your learning and overall experience.


3. Each session has links to handouts (tips and tools you can print and put into practice), our key PPT slides, and then tons of optional things to read, watch, or listen to…each designed to deepen your understanding and improve your practice.

4. Finally…because you’re going to want to share what you have learned. You do NOT need our permission to share the tips and tools from this course. You can (and we hope you will), share everything with other team members. We do ask, however, that you not give others full access to the course dashboard. If there are other paraprofessionals who are interested, please have them contact us to save a seat for the next time the course is offered. 

Everyone will want to know this!

Dr. Julie Causton and Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak are offering four FREE Paraprofessional Master Classes in 2021.

Anyone can attend; however, these master classes are specifically geared for paraprofessionals supporting students Pre-K through 12th grade.

Enroll HERE for free and you will receive details via email on how to join the FREE Master Classes.

You can attend one, two, three, or ALL four. You only need to register once! We’ll use the same ZOOM meeting link for all four master classes.


  • February 5, 2021 – Supporting Big and Challenging Behaviors
  • May 12, 2021 – Using the Ladder of Independence
  • July 14, 2021 – 100 Ways to Adapt Anything
  • Oct. 6, 2021Providing on the Fly Supports

All sessions are from 3:30-4:30 pm Eastern Time and will be hosted via ZOOM.

These master classes also provide a sneak peek into our PD 4 Paras series, which you are already a part of.

Quick Links


Downloadable poster

FaceBook Group

Optional networking opportunity


Continuing education certificate

Three+ Ways Paraprofessionals Can Demonstrate Learning

Option 1: Quizzes

Option 2: Recording Space

Option 3: More Ideas

On-Demand Session Content


Session 1: Making Sense of All the Labels

Session 1 Handouts and Resources

Topic: Making Sense of All the Labels

Session 1 Handouts:

  • Transcript for Session 1 [pdf]
  • Packet of handouts for Session 1 [pdf]
  • Key PPT slides for Session 1 [pdf]

Session 1 Related Resources (optional):

  • Article on reframing “THAT” child [link]
  • The Golden Rule of Providing Support in Inclusive Classrooms: Support Others as You Would Wish to Be Supported [article]
  • Blog on how to reframe deficit oriented words [link]
  • Division for Early Childhood Concept Paper on Developmental Delay [link]
  • Winnie the Pooh video and PPT [YouTube]

If you have a copy of Dr. Causton’s book, “The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms” you can read more about labels in chapter 5.

From The Handbook for Paraprofessionals 2nd Edition

  • Positive Student Profile [pdf] (p. 65)
  • Multiple Intelligences [pdf] (p. 69)
  • Person First Language [pdf] (p. 74)


Session 1: Graphic Record

Download [JPG] [PDF]

Session 2: Helping Kids Become Independent

Session 2 Handouts and Resources

Topic: Helping Kids Become Independent

Session 2 Handouts:

  • Transcript for Session 2 [pdf]
  • Packet of handouts for Session 2 [pdf]
  • Key PPT slides for Session 2 [pdf]

Session 2 Related Resources (optional):

  • Check out this Inclusive Schooling podcast episode where Brianna Dickens shares many thoughts about the best and worst ways to help students create friendships in schools
  • Watch this video and listen to how Emma describes the people in her life who support her. What do you notice?
  • We all have gifts, talents, and make a contribution to this world. Download and complete this T.H.R.I.V.E activity to become more aware of your “superpowers”
  • Zig Zag Process [podcast]
  • Toothpaste Theory of Relationships
    • Toothpaste theory from Fred Rogers Institute [link]
    • FaceBook live broadcast with Dr. KPF [link]
  • Strategies for helping children feel safe and secure [blog]
  • Self-correcting materials resources [blog] [Pinterest board]
  • Visual Supports
    • “Ladder within a ladder” – visual support hierarchy (pdf)
    • Practice point about visual supports [pdf]
    • Visual choice during tough times [vlog]

If you have a copy of Dr. Causton’s book, “The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms” you can read more about labels in chapters 4, 5, and 6.

From The Handbook for Paraprofessionals 2nd Edition

  • Common Activities and Supports Table 6.2 page 87 [pdf]

Session 2: Graphic Record

Download [JPG] [PDF]

Session 3: Deoding the ABCs of the IEP

Session 3 Handouts and Resources

Topic: Decoding The ABCs of The IEP

Session 3 Handouts:

  • Transcript for Session 3 [pdf]
  • Packet of handouts for Session 3 [pdf]
  • Key PPT slides for Session 3 [pdf]

Session 3 Related Resources (optional):

  • Watch this YouTube video on the “four filters” for identifying meaningful IEP goals
  • Two Minute Tip for a Better IEP: One BIG Special Ed Myth you Need to Know [blog]
  • Achieving inclusion [pdf]
  • Pre-K IEP Makeover e-Book [pdf]
  • Training YouTube video on how to write a meaningful PLAAFP
  • Zach Anner the cascades [video]
    • After watching the video, consider the following reflection prompts:
      • What struck you about this video?
      • In what ways is Zach’s hike similar to inclusive education?
      • Zach was included his whole life– what do you think about the friendships he has created? 
      • What comes to mind when you think of the support Zach received?
      • Was this hike easier because of Zach? 
      • Did Zach make this hike better?

If you have a copy of Dr. Causton’s book, “The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms” you can read more about labels in chapter 5.

Session 3: Graphic Record

Download [JPG] [PDF]

Session 4: Dealing With Big Emotions

Session 4 Handouts and Resources

Topic: Dealing with Big Emotions

Session 4 Handouts:

  • Transcript for Session 4 [pdf]
  • Packet of Handouts for Session 4 Handouts [pdf]
  • Key PPT slides for Session 4 [pdf]

Session 4 Related Resources (optional):

  • Watch this video about how to “teach before the peak”
  • Listen to not yet launched podcast about the use of praise, rewards, and punishment
  • Podcast on the case against ignoring
  • Bag the behavior charts [blog]
  • Beyond Treats and Timeouts: Humanistic Behavioral Supports in Inclusive Classrooms [pdf]
  • The Boy on Red and the Problem with Public Behavior Charts [link]

If you have a copy of Dr. Causton’s book, “The Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms” you can read more about labels in chapter 5.

Session 4: Graphic Record

Download [JPG] [PDF]

Bonus Masterclass #1: Supporting Big and Challenging Behaviors

Link to the recording: https://vimeo.com/509035768

Here are links to the resources shared during the first masterclass:
  • Conversations with Dr. Stuart Shanker and/or Dr. Dan Siegel (click here and search episodes)
  • Need to order the Para Professional Handbook? Click here
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly When it Comes to Praise, Rewards, and Punishment [podcast]
  • Article – Beyond Treats and Timeouts [pdf]
  • Sample letter you can edit and share with your supervisor, principal, director of special education, etc. [pdf]

Bonus Masterclass #2: The Ladder of Independence

Link to the recording: https://player.vimeo.com/video/551475332

Here are the links to resources shared during the second masterclass:

  • Boy in the bubble article [pdf]
  • Ladder of support [pdf]
  • Material supports [blog]
  • More about visual supports [pdf]
  • Resources on supporting friendships [blog]
  • Paraprofessionals Handbook [link]

Bonus Masterclass #3: Masterclass #3 – 100 Ways to Adapt Anything!

Link to the recording: https://vimeo.com/575458412/65b0c8a38c
Here are the links to resources shared during the third masterclass:
Handout: https://pdforparas.s3.amazonaws.com/100+tips+to+adapt+anything.pdf

Bonus Masterclass #4: Masterclass #4 – Providing Supports On the Fly! 

Link to the recording:https://vimeo.com/575458412/65b0c8a38c
Here are the links to resources shared during the fourth masterclass:

  • 20 Ways to Provide Silent Support [pdf]
  • 100 Ways to adapt Anything [pdf]

Bonus Mindset Before Methods Tips

  • Model what we want them to move toward.
  • For those with a copy of the “Paraprofessional’s Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms” check out pages 112-114 for a few ideas on creative problem-solving.
  • Read, “How do I change the mindset of my staff?” [blog]
  • How to help adults stop using behavior charts: FB live and show notes [link]
  • Be watching for our Partnering with Paras pop-up webinar!

Bonus Q&A Session

23 of the top questions paraprofessionals have were asked and answered during this session [video]

Click here for a printable version of the PPT slides.

 “I do know how to spell mottoes this is artistic license.” – Otto Lana

Meet Otto Lana…a 15 year-old who will inspire you to become a better human! This was a bonus session where we asked Otto to share his advice for paras.

Here’s just one of the things he shared…

Please know your position is valued. Please treat your position as a profession … you are not “just a…”.  You are the thread that supports a day that can be seamless or completely unraveled.  You serve the function of interdependence you are an integral component to success.”

Connect with Julie

Connect with Kristie