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    Thursday, April 18, 2024

    Paraprofessionals deserve a fair wage

    Recently, Daniel Drainville wrote a compelling feature, “Waterford ‘paras’ seek more pay,” (Feb. 22) on the merits of public school paraprofessionals, aka teacher aides who perform an invaluable service to our education system. These dedicated school staff members — many of them retired individuals, others promising younger educators on the rise — spend the bulk of their time sitting at the sides of students who struggle in crowded classrooms and rely on their adult mentors to help them understand what is not always practical for a single teacher to accomplish.

    While working for years in school classrooms throughout southeastern Connecticut, teaching various arts programs, I recognized the immense value of these paraprofessionals and how they made it possible for struggling students to keep pace with the rest, and to reap the rewards of achievement, due largely to the presence of patient and kindly mentors at their sides.

    Drainville's feature focused on the dire need to pay these crucial teaching assistants a fair wage. Schools have no problem providing athletic teams with qualified, well-paid coaches who also enjoy the convenience of well-paid assistants. Classroom teachers deserve that same consideration.

    Nicholas Checker

    Quaker Hill

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