What is an Instructional Assistant?

Instructional Assistants (IAs) are an important part of the educator team, working under the direction of the special education teacher and/or the special education program head and in collaboration with classroom teachers. IAs assist students with self-help tasks designed to enhance learning, behavior, social-emotional development, activities-of-daily-living, and access to the general curriculum by and for students with identified educational disabilities. In Andover, IAs are not assigned to classrooms or teachers, but rather assigned to individual students through the IEP process. The notable exception is that each kindergarten classroom includes an IA to facilitate learning as part of the classroom team. In some districts, employees in similar positions may hold the title of Paraprofessional or Education Support Professional (ESP).

There are no specific licensing or DESE requirements to become an IA. The qualifications for the role are listed in the job description as:  1. Minimum of two years of college or equivalent two years’ experience working with children, 2. Ability to understand student curriculum and to implement multiple teacher-directed activities, and 3. Knowledge of use of computers, including the application of classroom and adaptive technologies.  

 Through an agreement reached in 2019, IAs in Andover also have an opportunity to receive training and earn qualification for the roles of Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and Literacy Tutor. There are plans to expand this program and to add an Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) role, though this work has been delayed during the pandemic. These differentiated job roles include additional financial compensation.

Show All Answers

1. What is an Instructional Assistant?
2. How many Instructional Assistants work in Andover Public Schools?
3. What is the work year for an Instructional Assistant in Andover?
4. What is the process and timeline of bargaining between IAs and the School Committee?
5. What are the hourly rates paid to Andover Instructional Assistants?
6. How do the hourly rates offered by the School Committee compare to the hourly rates proposed by the Instructional Assistant union?
7. What percentage increases have been offered to Andover Instructional Assistants?
8. How does the salary increase offered to Andover IAs compare to salary increases for other Andover unions?
9. Does Andover Public Schools use a consistent set of districts when comparing educator, staff and administrative compensation rates?
10. How does the hourly rate offered to Andover IAs compare to hourly rates in demographically comparable districts?
11. How does the hourly rate offered to Andover IAs compare to hourly rates in geographically competitive districts?
12. Could the school department provide pay increases to IAs without a settled contract?
13. Do members of the IA union receive compensation other than hourly pay as part of their employment?
14. Do Instructional Assistants have access to health insurance benefits?
15. Do Instructional Assistants have access to pension benefits?
16. Is the IA union working without a contract?
17. Should salaries of IAs be more highly prioritized in the school operating budget?
18. Does the School Committee’s wage proposal meet or exceed a “living wage”?