Although the "No Child Left Behind Act" is targeted at enhancing public school education, many current and potential teachers' aides were left behind.

In order to meet the needs of area schools, Coastal Bend College will offer TOPs training for paraprofessionals to increase the pool of qualified teacher's assistants, instructional aides, classroom aides and teacher's aides.

Treasuring Our Paraprofessionals training was developed at Region 18 Education Service Center and meets the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The course will be taught by Donna Williams, a certified TOPs trainer, former teacher and retired administrator from George West ISD.

The 48-hour course will be offered on Wednesdays: Sept. 26, Oct. 17, Nov. 14, Dec. 12, 2007 and Jan. 16 and Feb. 13, 2008. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Gertrude Jones Auditorium classroom B-126 on the Beeville Campus. Registration must be complete by Sept. 24.

The training includes several components, including reading, math and writing based on the Texas Reading Academies and TEX-Team training; a minimum of 80 hours in a classroom working with a mentor teacher; and rigorous tests which evaluate participants' knowledge of reading, writing and math instruction. Participants can earn 4.8 continuing education points.

"Issues of student diversity, professionalism and student behavior will be discussed," Williams said. Upon completion of all requirements, participants will be certified as having met a rigorous standard of quality. "Participants will complete 80 hours of classroom work with specific skills checked off by the mentor teacher."

To attend the classes, applicants must submit an affidavit of recommendation from their district; have a mentor teacher assigned to them; and verifying that they have cleared a criminal history check.

To register, contact the CBC Continuing Education Office at (361) 354-2633, or by email: ghstraus@coastalbend.edu. You may also call the Alice Campus at 361-664-2981 ext. 3043.