Glossary of Terms - P

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Paraeducator (Auxiliar educativo) – A school employee who works under the supervision of a certificated and/or licensed staff member to support and assist in providing instructional and other direct services to children, youth, and families.


Parent  (Padre) – A biological or adoptive parent, a foster parent who meets State requirements for serving as parent, a guardian authorized to act as the parent or authorized to make educational decisions for the child (but not the State if the child is ward of the State), an individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent with whom the child lives, an individual who is legally responsible for the child's welfare, or an individual assigned to be a surrogate parent.


Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) (La coalición de padres en defensa de los derechos educativos) – National center dedicated to expanding opportunities and enhancing the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families.  Based on the concept of parents helping parents, PACER provides assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children. 


Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers (Centros de información y capacitación para los padres) – Nonprofit organizations funded by OSEP to carry out programs to ensure that parents of children with disabilities receive training and information to help improve results for their children.  In Texas, the PTI is operated by Partners Resource Network.


Peer Reviewed Research (Investigación revisada por pares) – See Scientifically Based Research.


Performance-Based Monitoring (PBM) (Monitoreo del desempeño– An automated data system that reports annually on the performance of Texas school districts and charter schools in selected program areas, including bilingual education/English as a second language, career and technology education, special education, and certain Title programs under the No Child Left Behind Act.


Performance Level Descriptors (Descriptores del nivel de desempeño– As part of the requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act, all states must develop descriptions of the knowledge and skills necessary for their students to achieve specific performance levels on their state assessments. In Texas, these are competency-based, content-specific phrases that describe the classroom behaviors students exhibit at each of the TAKS performance levels (Did Not Meet the Standard, Met the Standard, and Commended Performance). For parents, reviewing performance level descriptors can enhance their understanding of their child's academic strengths and weaknesses.  It can also help parents better understand state test scores and the level of performance required of students to achieve Met the Standard and Commended Performance on TAKS.


Personal Graduation Plan (Plan personal de graduación) – State law requires a school principal to designate a guidance counselor, teacher, or other appropriate individual to develop and implement a personal graduation plan for each student in junior high, middle school, or high school who does not perform satisfactorily on the statewide assessment (STAAR), or who is not likely to receive a high school diploma before the fifth school year following the student's enrollment in grade 9 (as determined by the district).  For students receiving special education services, an individualized education program developed by the ARD committee may be used as the student's Personal Graduation Plan.


Placement (Colocación) – The student’s education program, which is determined by the ARD Committee.  Placement refers to the educational program on the continuum of placements (regular classes, special classes, special schools, homebound instruction, or instruction in hospitals and institutions).  Placement does not refer to the specific location or site and must be based on the child’s IEP and determined by the ARD committee.


Portfolio (Portafolio) – See Student Introduction Portfolio.


Positive Behavior Support (PBS) (Apoyos conductuales positivos) – An approach to school discipline practices that addresses challenging behaviors through prevention-based interventions and positive behavior strategies that are not harmful or demeaning to the student.


Postsecondary Education (Educación superior) – Formal education or training beyond high school, including colleges, universities, vocational schools and trade schools.


Pre-referral Interventions (Intervenciones previas al envío a servicios) – Interventions delivered in the student’s regular classroom in an attempt to bring that student’s learning up to state standards.  These interventions are delivered to ensure that the student is receiving adequate classroom instruction and should be done before a referral for special education services is considered.  See also Response to Intervention.


Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) (Programa preescolar para niños con discapacidades) – The public school program for young children, ages 3-5.


Present Levels (Niveles actuales) – A statement in the individualized education program (IEP) of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general education curriculum.  For preschool children, as appropriate, the statement must describe how the disability affects the child's participation in age appropriate activities.  For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, the statement must include a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives. The statement must include the strengths of the child; the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child; the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation of the child; and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.


Prior Written Notice (Aviso previo por escrito) – Must be given (in writing) to the parents of the child whenever the local educational agency (LEA) proposes to initiate or change; or refuses to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child.  Texas defines a reasonable time for providing such notice as five (5) school days.  Please see the Guide to ARD Process for details on what should be included in the notice.


Procedural Safeguards (Salvaguardias procesales)– A document that explains the parent’s legal rights under state law and the IDEA to be involved in and make decisions about their child's education. The document is often referred to as the "Notice of Procedural Safeguards" or "Procedural Safeguards Notice," because its purpose is to notify parents of their legal rights. The Procedural Safeguards must be provided to parents, at a minimum one time per year, or upon:

  • initial referral or parental request for evaluation;
  • upon receipt of the first special education complaint filed with TEA;
  • upon receipt of the first due process hearing complaint in a school year;
  • when a decision is made to take disciplinary action that constitutes a change in placement; or
  • request by a parent.


Progress Monitoring (Monitoreo del progreso) – A scientifically based practice used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.  Among the benefits of progress monitoring are: accelerated learning because students are receiving more appropriate instruction; better documentation of how students are progressing; higher expectations for students by teachers; and fewer referrals to Special Education.


Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) (Programa de protección y defensa de los derechos individuales) – A federal program that supports protection and advocacy systems for individuals with disabilities in each state.  Most PAIR programs set priorities and objectives aimed at reducing barriers to education, employment, transportation, and housing. PAIR programs also advocate on behalf of individuals with significant disabilities to promote community integration and full participation in society.  The PAIR program in Texas is administered by Disability Rights Texas.


Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) (Sistema de administración de datos de la educación pública) – A data collection system that encompasses all data requested and received by TEA about public education, including student demographic and academic performance, personnel, financial, and organizational information.


Public School Choice (Elección de escuela pública) – Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, students attending schools that are identified as being “in need of improvement” have the option to transfer to better public schools in their districts.  The school districts are required to provide transportation to the students.  Priority will be given to low-income students.  See Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).


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