(a) As used in this section, a paraprofessional means a person who assists classroom teachers and other certificated personnel in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics. A paraprofessional includes an instructional aide as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 45343 and a teacher aide as described in Section 45360.
(b) A paraprofessional shall perform only duties that, in the judgment of the certificated personnel to whom the instructional aide is assigned, may be performed by a person not licensed as a classroom teacher. These duties shall not include assignment of grades to pupils.
(c) Pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110), a local education agency that receives funding from Title I of that act shall ensure that every paraprofessional hired on or after January 8, 2002, who is supported by those Title I funds and who assists in instruction has demonstrated at least one of the following in addition to any other requirements under that act:
(1) Completion of at least two years of study at an institution of higher education.
(2) Possession of an associate's degree or higher.
(3) Through a local or state assessment, that is appropriate to the responsibilities to be assigned to the paraprofessional, knowledge of, and ability to assist in, instructing reading, writing, and mathematics.
(d) Except as provided in subdivision (h), a paraprofessional hired prior to January 8, 2002, who is supported by federal funds from Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110) shall meet the requirements of subdivision (c) no later than January 8, 2006.
(e) No person shall be initially assigned to assist in instruction as a paraprofessional in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, unless the person has demonstrated proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics skills up to or exceeding that required by the employing district for high school seniors pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (f) of Section 51220 if the employing district educates high school pupils.
(f) If the employing district is an elementary school district, the paraprofessional shall demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics skills up to or exceeding that required for high school seniors pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (f) of Section 51220 in the high school district that includes all or the largest portion of the elementary district.
(g) In establishing the educational qualifications or in developing a proficiency exam, a school district shall align the qualifications and proficiency exams pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c).
(h) A paraprofessional who is supported by federal funds from Title I of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110) and who meets either of the following conditions is exempt from the requirements described in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (c):
(1) The paraprofessional is proficient in English and a language other than English and provides services primarily to enhance participation of pupils by acting as a translator.
(2) The paraprofessional's duties consist solely of conducting parental involvement activities.
(i) A paraprofessional who was hired on or before January 1, 2003, and who has previously demonstrated, through a local assessment, knowledge of, and an ability to assist in, instructing reading, writing, and mathematics, is deemed to have met the proficiency exam requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c).
(j) A school district may use an existing proficiency assessment or may develop a new proficiency assessment to meet the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c).
(k) Pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110), a local education agency may use a portion of the funds from that act for staff development for paraprofessionals, to the extent that those funds are appropriated in the annual Budget Act for this purpose.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 296, Sec. 68.)