Program Overview

Welcome to Project Para

Project Para's Online Self-Study Program provides a flexible, asynchronous method for high quality introductory training of paraeducators (and supervisors of paraeducators).  The program covers a variety of topics to aid paraeducators with the development of skills necessary to work effectively. 

Program Content

Content is organized within 14 learning modules across three areas of certification (Title I, Early Childhood Education, Special Education) and one assessment module (Module 15) covering the roles, responsibilities, core knowledge and skills required of paraeducators in schools today.

Content is alignedto the Nebraska Department of Education's guidelines for paraeducator practice and is intended to be supplemental to the training provided by school districts while assisting schools in meeting the paraeducator training requirements of Title-I and 3 (of 12 total credits required) for Early Childhood Paraprofessionals.  

Modules may be assignedin full or part, as administrative leaders see fit.  To earn a certificate of completion from Project Para however, all modules assigned to each pathway for certification (Title 1, Early Childhood Education, Special Education) must be completed in full.

Content is hosted through Canvas (, a digital Learning Management System (LMS) supported by the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council (ESUCC).  Curriculum within is maintained and updated by a small team in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education (TLTE) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

Paraprofessional progress, district/school/center reporting, and certificates of completion are hosted within a user dashboard in a users' MyESU portal ( and supported by the same small team of technicians at the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council (ESUCC).

Program Requirements

Supervision: Schools that utilize Project Para's Online Self-Study Program must agree to provide a training supervisor or mentor to oversee their paraeducators self-study program. This can be the District Administrator or, school/program based individuals capable of reviewing completed course content, providing feedback/insights, and navigating any role related questions specific to the paraeducators environment for practice that may arise throughout their self-study.

Completion Requirements: Each participating district/program administrator can decide how much of the program is useful to their situation and may assign any or all of the modules according to their needs.  For example, a district may choose to only have paraeducators complete Module 15.  This may be enough for the district, but it would not be enough to earn a certificate of completion through Project Para in fulfillment of Nebraska State requirements.

Time Commitment: The average time reported for completing a module is approximately 2 hours per module, regardless of certificate type.  You will notice that many modules count toward more than one certificate of completion as well.

Certificates of Completion: There are three certificates of completion offered for listed module combinations (Title I, Early Childhood Education, Special Education). Project Para Title I and Early Childhood Education Certificates of Completion meet the requirements for No Child Left Behind and the Nebraska Department of Education's Early Childhood requirements.  All related modules must be completed in full to earn a Certificate of Completion from Project Para.  The third certificate of completion is offered by Project PARA to participants who have completed the set of Special Education modules which are designed as the core modules to the project.

When a participant has completed the requirements for each of the certificates, and this has been verified online by their instructor, a printable certificate will download from the Instructor Resources. If you are an administrator that would like to leverage portions of this program in your own training effort (but not assign all) you are welcome to do so and draft your own incentives or form of recognition for your staff, personalized for your intended us.

*Please note: the certificates of completion are offered as a commendation for work completed for the project but do not have any kind of affiliation with the University of Nebraska.

Cost: This program has been generously supported by the Nebraska Department of Education and is currently offered without charge. It is possible, however, that in the future, the project may have to institute a fee system for its use. Project PARA has been offering its online program since 1995 and will continue to do so free of charge for as long as possible.

Program Registration

Project PARA has an organizational structure that flows from the District or Program Administrator downward. 
  1. Register your school district using your district administrator's information (only needs to be done once). For "Job Title" select, "District Admin". Check the box that will auto-populate to have access to the "Supervisors of Paraprofessionals" course as well.  You will be able to access via Canvas to review and determine usefulness to your sites needs at any given time.
  2. Wait 24-48 hours for a Project Para team member to review and approve your districts registration.  If not approved within 48 hrs, please contact us through our "Help Requestportal. Once approved, you will get an email notification to the newly approved email address provided at registration.
  3. If you are assigning training supervisors to paraeducators, other than yourself, please send the same registration link (here) to them and ask them to register as a "Supervisor", in the job title field. If you will be serving as both "District Administrator" and the program supervisor for your paraeducators, you may skip this step and proceed to step 4, as your "District Administrator" role provides you everything you will need. They will also want to select the "Supervisor Program" box that should appear once their "job title" (role) is selected.  It is up to you as District Administrator, to determine if you would like them to complete this course prior to supervising.  It is an optional support, not a requirement.  *If you are an Instructor of Record in a setting of Higher Education or similar education training program, you will want your graduate students to register as "Supervisors" and check this box as well. If working with undergraduates, you may want them to enroll as "Paraeducators".
  4. Wait 24-48 hours for a Project Para team member to review and approve your districts registration.  If not approved within 48 hrs, please contact us through our "Help Requestportal. Once approved, newly registered supervisors will get an email notification to the email address provided at registration, a link to register (using the same credentials) with Canvas for the self-study program content access, and a "user dashboard" within where they can monitor para professional progress, provide "retakes" if needed, access certificates of completion when generated by Project Para, and access historical records for those under their supervision.  Supervisors will only have access to data and information regarding those under their direct supervision.  District Administrators will have access to all supervisors and all paraeducators registered with the district.
  5. Once steps 1-4 are complete, you are ready to send the same registration link out to your paraeducators.  We recommend having them use their district/school credentials (email) however, personal email addresses for registration are also acceptable.  Paraeducators will enroll as "Para Course Student" in the "Job Title" field.  Please share with them your affiliated Educational Service Unit (ESU) if located in the State of Nebraska.  Options also exist for "unaffiliated" if you are neither a public or non-public (Rule 11) school or "college/higher education" if you are a post-secondary institution.
  6. Wait 24-48 hours for a District Administrator or School/Program Supervisor to approve registration (This is done in the "user management" dashboard of  If not approved within 48 hrs, paraeducators should reach out to their supervisors for follow up.  If a technical issue is identified, please contact the Project Para team through our "Help Request"portal for additional support. Once approved, newly registered paraeducators will get an email notification to the email address provided at registration, a link to register (as them to use the same credentials they used when registering initially at with Canvas to access the self-study program curriculum, and a "user dashboard" within where they can monitor their reported progress, request technical support from the Project Para team if they get stuck with something, and access certificates of completion (when generated by Project Para).
  7. Tailor expectations specific to your users and user roles, share this (coming soon) brief program overview and walkthrough, and provide timelines for completion.
  8. Monitor paraeducator progress, verify short answer content from activities in Canvas or optional in person check-ins meets your expectations and provide personalized feedback to paraeducators as supportive.


Compliance with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) 

  • explains federally mandated expectations.
    • defines semester and quarter credit hours.
    • establishes approved assessments as meeting Title I qualifications.

Providing Equitable Opportunities for an Essential Education for All Students in Nebraska Public School Districts

    • Nebraska State Board of Education Bylaw and Policy Reference Manual (12/10/04)
      • All paraprofessionals (paraeducators) should: 
          • Meet requirements of state and/or federal legislation
          • Have a mandatory background check
          • Have assigned duties which are non-teaching in nature
          • Follow federal mandates in buildings funded by Title I

Standards to Measure Professional Growth of Paraeducators

(in development, TBD)

Policy that Distinguishes Special Education Paraeducators

    • Rule 11: Regulations for Early Childhood Education Programs (8/20/07) 
    • 004.08B Paraeducator.  A paraeducators assigned to work as a member of a classroom team shall have received at least 12 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate credit in child development/early childhood education, or equivalent in prior training or experience as determined by the Commissioner or his or her designee.
    • Approved Equivalency for Paraeducators in Early Childhood Programs Operated by Public Schools, Districts or Educational Service Units.
    • Defines the equivalent in prior training or experiences as defined by the Commissioner.

Resource Guide for Supervisors

Assisting Local Agencies in Supervision of Paraeducators Beyond No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Mandated Expectations

Standards to Measure the Professional Growth of Certified-Teachers Supervising Paraeducators

(in development, TBD)
Creation date: 3/22/2023 1:48 PM      Updated: 10/12/2023 10:49 AM
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