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Joplin Schools Offers Unique Career Path in Special Education

A paraprofessional is a non-teaching staff member who helps teachers with classroom management and the needs of students with special needs.

Joplin Schools announced Monday a new position for those who don't possess a teaching certificate but can help teachers in the classroom with behavioral and management needs. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Joplin Schools has created a new position, Behavior Interventionist, for paraprofessionals who want to advance in their careers. Behavior Interventionists assist teachers with classroom behaviors and management needs and attend to the physical, personal, academic, and emotional needs of students with special needs.

This is a more lucrative and long-term position than a paraprofessional. Behavior interventionists undergo specialized training to become more skilled in their ability to respond to student’s behavioral needs to maintain long-term relationships.

This training can include coursework, practicum hours, and certification exams.

Behavior interventionists must be able to identify and assess behavioral problems, develop and implement behavior plans, and monitor the effectiveness of those plans.

Paraprofessionals can begin work in Joplin Schools at $13.65 per hour; Behavior interventionist wages begin at $16.75 per hour, and increase to $18.00 per hour after on-the-job training. Both positions offer full-time benefits to employees, including free mental healthcare resources.

Currently, there are seven paraprofessional and nine interventionist opportunities available at the district's website,

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Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.

In the fall of 2023 Fred was promoted to Interim General Manager and was appointed GM in Feburary of 2024.