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Paraeducators Earn Fundamental Course of Study

This school year, we have 575 paraeducators serving our more than 27,000 students across Kent School District. 

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 under Washington state law.  

The paraeducator minimum employment requirements from HB 1115, passed by the Washington state legislature in 2017, and SB 6388 passed in 2018 have brought about changes for paraeducators both current or previously employed and those new to the profession in Kent and statewide. 

Paraeducator minimum employment requirements in Washington State are now, a paraeducator must: 

  • Be at least eighteen years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Must meet one or more of the following:
    • Have received a qualifying score of 461 on the Education Testing Service ParaPro Assessment; or 
    • Hold an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university; or 
    • Have earned seventy-two quarter credits or forty-eight semester credits at the one hundred level or higher at an accredited college or university; or 
    • Have completed an apprenticeship as a paraeducator, in a program registered with the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council. 

In addition to meeting the minimum employment requirements, with the close of the 2019 legislative session, representatives approved state appropriation for all school districts in Washington to provide two days of training in the Fundamental Course of Study to all paraeducators during the 2019-20 school year.  

The Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) is made up of the standards of practice, packaged in 12 units, and is designed to be provided to paraeducators in a 28-hour course of professional development. School districts are only required to provide training on two days of the Fundamental Course of Study during the 2019-20 school year. If funding continues, school districts will be required to provide the additional two days of training during the 2020-21 school year.  As of December 13, 2019, 42% or 240 KSD paraeducators have completed their required 14 hours of FCS professional development for the 2019-20. In total, 78% or 449 paraeducators are in progress or have completed their required hours.  

Our paraeducators may use their completed professional development clock hours towards their General Paraeducator Certificate, Advanced Paraeducator Certificate or Subject Matter Certificate (ELL, Special Education) after they have completed the Fundamental Course of Study. These certificates are not required, but if achieved each certificate demonstrates competencies that align with the standards of practice for that certificate.  

From assisting in classroom management and activities such as student behavior, student retention of learning, communicating with parents, and a myriad of other activities instrumental to improving student performance the role of the paraeducator is critical to student success.  Paraeducators exemplify a resourcefulness that makes it difficult to pinpoint what they do because they do so much for our students, classrooms, and schools each and every day which is why they are referred to as Education Support Professionals. In Kent School District we appreciate all that our paraeducators do to successfully prepare students for their futures and we are proud to support the professional development and career advancement of our paraeducator workforce.  

Want to Join Team KSD? 

Come to one of our Classified Career Fairs or view all of our current openings and apply online today!

  • Thursday, January 9 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 21 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

We are especially hiring paraeducators, clerical staff, and substitutes. Bring your resumes!