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Paraeducator FCS & GPC

Paraeducator Certificate Program 

What is the Paraeducator Certificate Program?

The Paraeducator Certificate Program is a required two-part training provided to all Paraeducators in Washington State with three optional certificates. 

To jump directly to a particular coursework, please use the following links:

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What is the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS)?

The FCS is the first step in the required paraeducator training and consists of 28 specific hours of study. Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the state will fund the full 28 hours each school year, so you can complete the entire FCS in one school year.

This training is offered through a mix of in-person and online classes. Paraeducators are paid for these classes if they take place outside of normal work hours. The online courses may be completed at any time and the in-person classes must be completed when the course is offered. Scheduled in-person courses will be advertised to those paraeducators needing to complete the course.

Summary of FCS Courses

 Course

Online hours

In-person hours

 FCS01: Introduction to Cultural Identity and Diversity

1

3

 FCS02: Methods of Educational and Instructional Support

1

3

 FCS03: Technology Basics

1

1

 FCS04: Using and Collecting Data

1

0

 FCS05: District Orientation and Roles & Responsibilities

1

2

 FCS06: Equity

1

2

 FCS07: Behavior Management Strategies

1

1

 FCS08: Child & Adolescent Development

2

0

 FCS09: Emergency and Health Safety

1

0

 FCS10: Positive and Safe Learning Environment

1

2

 FCS11: Communication Basics

1

1

 FCS12: Communication Challenges

1

0

 Total Hours

12

16


Where can I find the online FCS courses?

The online courses will be completed through an OSPI online program called Paraeducators: What We Do Matters and can be found on the Canvas Server (PLUS registration is required to access Canvas). The first step is registering for the Paraeducators: What We Do Matters course and creating an account with Canvas. Once you complete your registration you will be logged in automatically. You can log in directly using the link https://plus.instructure.com/login/canvas

If you complete the modules outside of your normal workday, you will be compensated for the number of hours indicated; there is no compensation if you complete additional modules.

How am I paid for FCS coursework?
To be paid for coursework you must do two steps:

  1. Submit a timesheet to HR indicating when the coursework was completed. This does not go on your regular timesheet—you must complete a separate timesheet for coursework. Indicate which courses you completed (ex: write “Para WWDM Mods 1 & 9” and the number of hours. See "Summary of FCS Hours" chart above). When two modules combine for a course, submit them at the same time.
    Important! When adding the modules to your timesheet, remember you cannot record more than 8 hours/day or 40 hours/week, and no time on a holiday. Weekends are ok.
  2. Submit a printout/PDF to HR showing a score of 100% for the quizzes. Quizzes may be retaken as many times as necessary to receive a score of 100%. 

What do I do after I’ve completed FCS training?
The State requires that you report the completion of the FCS to OSPI through their eCert program. There are no fees associated with reporting your FCS completion to OSPI. After notifying OSPI, send an email to Courtney Hahn so she can confirm it went through. She will note your completion in Skyward.

FCS completion data is available for you to see in Skyward Employee Access under Employee Information > Personal Information > Para FCS. A screenshot example is shown below.

 

What is the General Paraeducator Certificate (GPC)?

The GPC may only be worked on after completion of the FCS. The GPC is 70 hours of training earned over several years. The state only provides funding for 14 hours of training per year, which means you are capped at being paid for 14 hours per school year. While you can earn more than 14 hours per school year, you cannot be paid for more than 14 hours as there is no funding to pay for those extra hours.

What is a clock hour?
Clock hours are units of credit assigned to educators at a professional development or training event. Traditionally, clock hours have been for teachers only but, with the advent of the GPC, paraeducators can now earn them. You can learn more about clock hours on the OSPI Clock Hour webpage. Keep in mind, some of what is on that page is directed at teachers, but there is general info as well. Please note that there are approved providers for clock hours, so you can’t take just any class you find in the world that you are interested in and get clock hours. The class must be offered by an OSPI pre-approved provider.

Where can I find GPC Courses?
While the FCS has specific courses to take, the GPC hours can be earned with any class from an OSPI-approved provider that offers clock hours.  These classes can be provided by SVSD, your building, another school district, ESDs, local agencies (like Encompass), and more.

SVSD courses: To see courses offered by SVSD, check the district course catalog in Frontline Professional Growth (Activity Catalogs > District Catalog). You can participate in almost all of the courses in Frontline Professional Growth except the ones intended for teachers only (i.e., TAP stands for Teacher Assistance Program, so paras would not take that course).

Resource Library courses: In addition to the SVSD district catalog, Frontline Professional Growth also offers a Resource Library (Resource Library > Browse Library). The only Resource Library courses currently approved for GPC credit are:

  • Intro to Being a Paraprofessional
  • Substitute Teaching 101 Part 1
  • Substitute Teaching 101 Part 2
  • Substitute Teaching 101 Part 3
  • GPC Substitute Teaching Advanced Classroom Management, Part 1
  • GPC Substitute Teaching Advanced Classroom Management, Part 2
  • GPC Substitute Teaching Advanced Classroom Management In-Depth Extension, Part 1
  • GPC Substitute Teaching Advanced Classroom Management In-Depth Extension, Part 2
  • GPC Substitute Teaching Working with At-Risk Youth, Part 1

Important! If you complete one of the above courses from Frontline PG Resource Library, please remember to also register for the course in Frontline PG SVSD district catalog. This ensures you will be issued a clock hour form as proof of completion. 

College courses: (100 level or higher) may also count towards the GPC. 1 quarter college credit = 10 clock hours, so if you take a 2 quarter college credit class during the school year, you have more than earned the maximum 14 clock hours you can be paid for each school year. You would need to submit a college transcript (official or unofficial) or grade report showing course completion to HR.

How am I paid for GPC coursework?
You must follow all registration and participation guidelines to earn clock hours. For SVSD courses, you must register for the class in Frontline Professional Growth (same login as Absence Management). For clock hours earned outside of SVSD (like Encompass), you will need to submit an in-service registration form verifying the clock hours to HR to be paid.

Important notes:

  • To get paid, submit a timesheet to HR that lists all the hours and describes the course. This does not go on your regular timesheet—you must complete a separate timesheet for coursework. For example, write “Para GPC 8/24 District Directed Day”.
  • When you submit extra hours, we check Frontline Professional Growth (for SVSD courses) or your included documentation (for non-SVSD courses). You must be registered/provide proof of completion to receive compensation.
  • Do not timesheet more than 8 hours/day or 40 hours/week (including your regular work hours) or add time to a holiday. 
  • If you submit more than 14 hours, you will only be paid for 14. It is your responsibility to track how many hours you have earned. You can see what you have registered for and completed in Frontline Professional Growth.
  • Classes completed before June 30 will count towards the current school year. (For example, classes completed by June 30, 2022, will count towards the 2021-2022 school year.)
  • Classes started on or after July 1 will count towards the next school year. (For example, classes started by July 1, 2022, will count for the 2022-2023 school year.)

What do I do after I’ve completed GPC training?
You must submit your GPC hours to OSPI via their eCert program after completion. You may report as many clock hours as you have earned (not limited to 14 per year, that is just the limit for what SVSD can pay you for). Under current legislation, once the State has provided enough funds for you to complete the GPC (at the current rate of 14 hours per year, it will take 5 years), then you will be required to apply for the General Paraeducator Certificate. You will need to have all clock hours entered at that time, so it is wise to do it as you go.

What are Subject Matter Certificates?

Subject Matter Certificates are for paraeducators who wish to further their skills in English Language Learner (ELL) or Special Education instruction. These certificates are optional. Subject Matter Certificates can count towards the GPC.

Important notes:

  • A paraeducator can only earn a Subject Matter Certificate if they have completed their FCS training.
  • Subject Matter Certificates have specific standards, learning objectives, and course outlines that must be met to receive the certificate.
  • To earn a Subject Matter Certificate, a paraeducator must complete the certificate's coursework, which equals 20 hours of professional development in the certificate subject area.
  • A paraeducator may allocate completed Subject Matter Certificate hours towards their general certificate hours (up to a maximum of 14 hours paid).
  • The certificate expires after five years, and it is not a prerequisite to work in any program.

Where can I find Subject Matter Certificate courses?
There are two online courses available to help paraeducators meet the requirements for a Subject Matter Certificate, one being for an English Language Learner certificate and the other being for a Special Education certificate. The coursework can be found on the same Moodle learning platform where you completed the FCS "What We Do Matters" coursework.

How am I paid for Subject Matter Certificate coursework?
The Subject Matter Certificates are earned entirely online and are worth 20 clock hours each-- more than the 14 hours you can be paid for in a single school year.

  • To provide proof of completion, share a screenshot of the certificate status bar evidencing the percentage of completion you are at. 25% completed equals 5 clock hours, 50% completed equals 10 clock hours, etc.
  • Proof of completion submitted prior to July 1 will count toward that current school year. Proof of completion submitted July 1 or later will count toward the following school year.
  • Send proof of completion to Courtney Hahn, or contact with questions or for assistance.

COMING SOON: What is the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate?