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Utilization of Noncertified Personnel

To support the Whole Child, a local district may employ noncertified personnel to assist teachers and provide supports to students. These employees include instructional personnel, clerical support personnel and paraprofessional personnel. The purpose of this document is to clarify conditions governing the assignment of noncertified personnel employed within specific educations programs.

The term “noncertified personnel” as used in this document, refers to teacher aides/assistants, paraprofessionals and other support personnel for whom a valid Michigan teaching certificate is not required by law, rule or policy.  These people are not delivering direct instruction and are not teaching students new content. 

This guidance does not apply to occupational and physical therapists, school nurses, or other licensed, certified, approved professional support personnel, or to personnel assigned to non-educational activities, such as athletic events, leisure time, or community service programs which are operated as extracurricular activities.

Legal Authority

Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 380.1231 and 388.1763 requires that all local boards of a school district ensure that they hire and/or contract with qualified teachers who hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate.  These teachers are to be assigned the responsibility of providing instruction to students.  (This is subject to sections MCL 380.1233b and MCL 380.1233c.) 

School districts are prohibited from allowing noncertified personnel employed as teacher aides/assistants or instructional paraprofessionals to assume the responsibility of teachers in elementary or secondary schools within the state of Michigan, as indicated in the following quote from MCL 380.1233(1):

…the board of a school district or intermediate school board of an intermediate school district shall not permit a teacher who does not hold a valid teaching certificate to teach in a grade or department of the school.

Instructional support personnel may be employed and assigned to assist teachers or other approved professional personnel without certification or licensure as authorized in Michigan Administrative Code 390.1105.

For additional information on placement and assignment of teachers can be found in the Appropriate Placement of Educators guidance

Authorized Activities for Noncertified Personnel

School districts may employ noncertified personnel to assist and support:

  1. non-instructional activities, including:
    1. maintaining safety and monitoring in the lunchrooms, on the playground, or in other school settings;
    2. functioning as health care aides, library assistants, or other responsibilities of  non-instructional support for the students; and
    3. supervising before and after school programs and non-instructional periods (e.g., study hall periods not counted as part of the required minimum number of hours of pupil instruction as required by section 101 of the State School Aid Act, MCL 388.1701.)
  2. instructional and related activities, including:
    1. assisting in the development of instructional and related materials, performance or clerical tasks;
    2. complementing instructional activities, such as assisting the teacher during the lesson by helping students who may need additional support with instruction;
    3. supplementing instruction by assisting the teacher with individuals or small groups of pupils on follow-up activities as specified; and
    4. reinforcing instruction by assisting the teacher in administering drill activities for individuals or small groups.

Supervision of Noncertified Personnel Providing Instructional Support

Non-certified, non-instructional personnel may supervise students during library periods, study halls, lunch hours, and other times not counted as part of the student’s instructional day as defined in R 340.10 of the Michigan Administrative Code.

Each educational agency must ensure that certified teachers are responsible for students during instructional periods every day; however, certified teachers may temporarily be absent during part of an instructional period to handle emergencies, discipline problems, or other unforeseen problems of a temporary nature.

Noncertified personnel engaged in complementing, supplementing, or reinforcing instruction that is counted as part of the instructional day under Rule 340.10 of the Michigan Administrative Code shall be under the meaningful direction and supervision of a certified classroom teacher.

“Meaningful direction” means that the teacher is responsible for:

  1. planning and coordinating all lessons;
  2. presenting the initial lesson;
  3. assessing the learning objectives;
  4. determining mastery of content;
  5. identifying the type of complementing, supplementing, or reinforcing instruction or intervention to be provided; and
  6. specifying the methods, materials, and techniques to be used by noncertified personnel.

“Supervision” means the certified teacher periodically:

  1. evaluates the performance of noncertified personnel providing instructional support;
  2. reviews the work duties and assignments of the non-certified staff; and
  3. evaluates the progress of students receiving support.

Noncertified personnel may not be given full responsibility for instruction or assessment of students.  They may provide complementing, supplementing, or reinforcing instruction or intervention to individuals or small groups of students without the teacher physically being present for a limited period of time as long as the teacher knows the whereabouts of the aide and students at all times, the noncertified personnel are never given full responsibility for instruction, and the activities of the noncertified personnel are always under the meaningful direction and supervision of the teacher.

Role and Responsibility of Noncertified Personnel by Program Area

Districts are authorized to employ teacher aides/assistants and other paraprofessionals to support teachers in the day-to-day operation of school programs.  However, noncertified personnel in the following programs have special responsibilities or functions as established in administrative rule or as a condition for receipt of state or federal funds and must meet specific requirements established by the program area.

Section 41

Under the Section 41, Michigan Bilingual Education Grant, the bilingual/ESL instruction for English Learners in speaking, reading, writing, or comprehension, must be conducted by a teacher with a Michigan bilingual education or ESL endorsement.  When a teacher with a Michigan bilingual or ESL endorsement is not available to support bilingual/ESL instruction, districts must seek substitute permits for qualified individuals to serve in this role. Permits should not be considered permanent solutions for staffing, and districts are strongly encouraged to support personnel in pursuing a bilingual or ESL endorsement on a Michigan teaching certificate. 

Teacher aides, assistants, paraprofessionals, or tutors who assist with instruction must be under the direct supervision of a certified and endorsed (or properly permitted) teacher.  These non-certified staff should speak the home language of the students to provide bilingual support to add in developing English language proficiency.  

For more information on this program area contact the Office of Educational Supports.

Title I

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) requires that instructional support paraprofessionals meet specific requirements.

For the purposes of Title I, Part A, a paraprofessional is defined as an employee who provides instructional support in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds, either in a school-wide program or directly under a target-assisted program. This includes paraprofessionals who do the following:

  • Provide one-on-one tutoring if such tutoring is scheduled at a time when a student would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher.
  • Assist with classroom management, such as organizing instructional and other materials.
  • Conduct parental involvement activities.
  • Provide instructional assistance in a computer laboratory.
  • Provide support in a library or media center.
  • Act as a translator.
  • Provide instructional support services under the direct supervision of a teacher.

As partners in the instructional process, paraprofessionals who work in programs supported with Title I funds must meet the requirements as specified in the Paraprofessionals Requirements document.  For more information on this program area contact the Office of Educational Supports.

Special Education

Paraprofessional personnel employed in special education programs are qualified under requirements established by their respective intermediate school district plan.  Special education paraprofessional personnel include, but are not limited to, teacher aides, health care aides, bilingual aides, instructional aides, and program assistants in programs for students with cognitive impairments or severe multiple impairments. The Michigan Administrative Rule for Special Education (MARSE) will provide additional clarity in Rule 340.1793. For more information on this program area contact the Office of Educational Supports.

CTE Programs

CTE paraprofessionals are noncertified aides assigned to support teachers in state approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.  More information can be found in the Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) paraprofessional guidance.