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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions. If you don't see an answer to one of your questions, please send us an email

Paraeducator FAQs

Who is a “paraeducator”?

A paraeducator is defined as a “classified public school or school district employee who works under the supervision of a certificated or licensed staff member, from grades kindergarten to grade 12, to support and assist in providing instructional and other services to students and their families, including library assistants, and excluding bus monitors, lunchroom aides, and community service aides. Paraeducators are not considered certificated instructional staff. (WAC)

Note: In Highline, this definition has been expanded to include preschool paraeducators and student monitors, per the Teamsters III MOU Sept. 2019. This was intended so that these paraeducators may maintain employment mobility and options within the district. For more, see “Does this mean me?”

What is the Paraeducator Certificate Program?

The State of Washington requires all paraeducators to meet minimum requirements for employment, the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS), and the General Certificate. Additional, optional certificates will also be available under this program and will be applied towards the General Certificate. Please see the implementation schedule below.

Phase 1: School Year 2019-2020

All employees and those newly hired must complete 14 hours of FCS by the end of the school year.

Phase 2: School Year 2020-2021

All employees and those newly hired must complete the remaining 14 hours of FCS by the end of the school year and submit associated documents to OSPI for receipt of FCS certificate.

Phase 3: School Year 2021-2020 and Beyond

All current employees to continue participating in clock hours towards a General Certificate. All employees hired to complete full FCS within four months of hire.

What RCW and WAC is associated with this program?

Chapter 28A.413 RCW and WAC 179 are the relevant laws and rules associated with this program. The RCW established the paraeducator minimum employment requirements, the standards of practice for paraeducators, the Paraeducator Board, and the Paraeducator Certificate Program. The Paraeducator Board further defines the RCW through rules in WAC 179.  

Does this mean me?

If you hold a position that is categorized on the Teamsters III A-1 Schedule as Instructional, yes. This includes all positions under the headers “Paraeducator” or “Specialist”. All employees as of September 1, 2019,  and all newly hired paraeducators are required under the law to complete the FCS as a condition of their employment.

What is the FCS?

The Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) is the initial 28 hours of training required for all instructional paraeducators. These hours are similar to graduation requirements -- there is an overall requirement of 28 hours and those hours are aligned to specific standards comprising 12 units.

What happens if I don’t attend the training, or I miss an opportunity?

You are responsible to ensure you’ve completed 14 hours of the 28 required hours, by June 30 2020. The district is responsible to ensure there are ample opportunities available to you. This includes offerings provided by your site, district, or online via our Canvas portal.

When do I do the trainings, and how do I find them?

Trainings may be available at your building (talk to your Building Leader) during your workday, through the district on non-work days, evenings or weekends (extra service eligible) or online through Canvas or PESB. You can find and register for district offerings on the district PD Calendar. To access, you’ll need to sign in with your @highlineschools.org email address.

Can I attend trainings outside of HPS for the FCS?

This will depend on the details as trainings would have to be aligned to the FCS Standards. These inquiries can be reviewed on an individual basis by sending the full information details to paracert@highlineschools.org.

What is a clock hour?

Clock hours are individual hours of professional training. They must be pre-approved and are issued by an Approved Clock Hour Provider (ie Highline Public Schools). After registering and attending a training that offers clock hours, an employee will get a pre-filled clock hours form. Employees are required to sign, date, and retain original copies.

How do I make sure I get the clock hours when I attend a training?

You’ll be required to sign-in on a clock hours request form at any training offering clock hours in Highline Public Schools. You should also pick up a copy of the provided clock hours form for your own records. Your facilitator will turn the clock hours request form into Human Resources.

How do I get the FCS Certificate?

When you’ve completed at 28 hours of the required FCS you will submit your state approved FCS clock hour form(s) to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) through their Education Data System (EDS).

Principal FAQs

How do I offer clock hours for my paraeducators?

Principals can provide school-based professional development for their paraeducators to earn clock hours. Follow instructions found on the course offerings page.

Where can I get the alignment guidance documents?

Review the FCS Course Outline and align the professional development with one of the 12 courses. You may also email paracert@highlineschools.org for assistance.

Can I offer one PD to cover multiple course hours?

If you want to offer multiple FCS courses in one professional development training, please create a separate session on the PD Calendar for each FCS course. 

How far in advance should I propose a new PD session?

Professional development proposals must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Approval can take up to 2-3 weeks.

Questions

If you have questions about the Paraeducator Certification Program or need support, please send us an email.