Virtual Para PD

We recognize that many paraprofessionals, para-educators, and classroom aides and assistants are eager to use the time at home to build their knowledge as practitioners. Below is a new series specific to individuals who provide instructional or related support to students under the direction and supervision of a certified teacher. To support the scaling, we are offering district packages with a sliding scale. Districts will register the number of participants. Attendance will be collected and each participant will receive a certificate of hours that they can provide to the district as evidence of their professional learning.

Before each series, we are offering a FREE interactive webinar on how to use Zoom and CANVAS. Anyone can access these sessions (up to the 300 person limit). Participants do not need to sign up for our paid sessions to get this training. Anyone participating in the paid series, need to either know how to use Zoom and CANVAS, participate in our webinars, or view the shared instructional videos. During the series itself, we will not offer Zoom or CANVAS assistance.

Each series will include a one hour interactive webinar and a follow up 2 hour virtual module for a package of 3 hours. Attendance will be taken during the webinar and a brief reflection form will be provided for the virtual module.

Each series will be limited to 300 participants per section. If we have more than 300 registrants, we will open up additional sections.

Costs Per Series:

  • Package 1: Up to 10 Participants= $500 ($50 per person)
  • Package 2: Up to 25 Participants= $1,200 ($48 per person)
  • Package 3: Up to 50 Participants= $2,300 ($46 per person)
  • Package 4: Up to 75 Participants= $3,300 ($44 per person)
  • Package 5: Up to 100 Participants=$4,200 ($42 per person)
Building Capacity 


  • April 7, 2020  10:00 am FREE Introduction to Zoom and CANVAS
  • April 14, 2020  10:00 am FREE Introduction to Zoom and CANVAS
  • April 28, 2020  10:00 am FREE Introduction to Zoom and CANVAS

Participants will engage in a one-hour interactive session to learn and practice the functions of the Zoom and CANVAS platforms.

Series 1-Using Trauma-Informed Practice to Support the Social and Emotional Needs of Students 


  • Section 1: April 15, 2020, 10:00 am
  • Section 2: April 15, 2020, 1:00 pm

Description As para-educators, you are working directly with students throughout the day and often best positioned to recognize and support those learners who are experiencing social and emotional challenges. Using trauma-informed practices to understand, recognize and respond to the effects of trauma will increase the ability of students to recognize their emotions, cope with trauma and use strategies proactively to successfully participate in all aspects of their education. In this session, you will learn to proactively recognize signs of trauma and become familiar with specific Trauma Informed Practices that can be directly used to support the social and emotional needs of students.

Series 2- Effectively Supporting Students with Significant Disabilities to Maximize Independence


  • Section 1: April 16, 2020, 10:00 am
  • Section 2: April 16, 2020, 1:00 pm

Description Para-educators are key team members in supporting students with significant disabilities to make meaningful progress. When working with students who require support in a range of areas, as a result of their disability, it is important that they receive adequate support designed with their voice in mind. In this session, you will learn specific skills to increase students’ ability to set goals, self-advocate, self-regulate, make choices, solve problems and reach decisions that impact their own learning.

Series 3-Disability Categories/Eligibility and the Evaluation Process 


  • Section 1: April 29, 2020, 10:00 am
  • Section 2: April 29, 2020, 1:00 pm

Description Students are identified for special education services through an evaluation and eligibility process. In this session, you will learn each of the steps in that process. You will also learn about special education categories and how those categories are defined to better inform your work with students receiving your support.

Series 4-IEP Development and Implementation


  • Section 1: April 30, 2020 10:00 am
  • Section 2: April 30, 2020 1:00 pm

Description Para-educators are active members of IEP teams implementing the individualized education programs for students on a daily basis. However, many of you do not interact with the development phase of the process. In this session, you will learn about each part of an Individualized Education Program and how it is developed as part of the team process. Additionally, you will learn the specific expectations for implementation of each part of the Individualized Education Program.

Presenter Bio

laurieLaurie Casna, J.D. serves as a senior presenter and technical assistance provider for RECA. She is an experienced special educator, administrator, and national consultant as well as a licensed attorney. Ms. Casna is currently a Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts and has experience as a Director of Personnel and Student Services and a Special Education Director. Prior, she was a special educator who worked in moderate and severe special education settings and programs. As a technical assistance provider for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Inclusive Instruction Academy, Laurie is experienced at designing and delivering comprehensive PD and planning sessions. Ms. Casna holds a Masters Degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Special Education from Bridgewater State College and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk Law School. She is currently completing her Doctoral Studies in Curriculum and Leadership at Northeastern University. 

Email for more details on future series. 

Future Topics:

  • Legal Topics in Special Education
  • Culturally Sustaining Classrooms
  • UDL 101 
  • Building Professional Relationships
  • Using Engagement and Empowerment to Minimize Behavioral Challenges