Devin Powers is 2017 C.E.S. Paraeducator of the Year
TRUMBULL, Conn. – Devin Powers, an educational instructor in the Developmental Learning Center (DLC) at Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.), is the organization’s Paraeducator of the Year for 2017.
Ms. Powers, a Norwalk resident who was hired to work in the C.E.S. Special Education division in 2014, assists with duties in a variety of classroom settings throughout the building, helping children build on their vocational skills.
“This experience as a paraeducator has shown me what kind of teacher I want to be,” said Powers, who is on track to earn a Special Education Master’s Degree in 2019 from Southern Connecticut State University, which she also attended as an undergraduate. “I will be compassionate. I will be supportive. … I will view each child as unique and shape their goals according to their specific needs.”
Powers says her biggest accomplishment at C.E.S. was taking a student out into the community. The student hadn’t previously been able to join classmates on trips because of behavioral issues but after working with Powers over a summer session, he was able to venture out seven times. “Seeing him thrive that summer and become part of the community and bond with the other students, hands down has been the proudest moment of my life and truly made me reflect on my future career goals,” she said.
Maria Morabito, Program Administrator at DLC, said “Devin’s ability to continually draw on her past experiences helps with the day-to-day operations of our school. She is positive, reliable, flexible, trustworthy, self-motivated, and innovative.”
Morabito also said Powers uses her innovative talents to find job-related tasks for students so that they can work toward being able to function in the community, plus she is able to relate to the students in many ways and on various levels. “Devin is a tremendous asset to our team,” Morabito said.
Powers was nominated for the award by C.E.S. Speech Therapist Ann Kecskes.
This honor makes Powers eligible for the state Department of Education’s Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year award, which was created to recognize the important role of the paraeducator in supporting student achievement. The award was renamed in 2013 to honor the memory of Murphy, a special education paraeducator who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
Criteria for the award are outlined by six standards identified from the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals Model and include assisting teachers with: building and maintaining effective instructional teams, maintaining learner-centered supportive environments, planning and organizing learning experiences, engaging students in learning, instruction, assessing learner needs, progress, and achievement, as well as meeting standards of professional and ethical conduct.
The winner of the state award will be announced in September.