Professional Development for Educational Support Professionals

Para Ed Cert Program

The Paraeducator Certificate Program from the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board offers a statewide standards-based training for all paraeducators, and supports a career growth ladder for those who wish to advance their career as a paraeducator or pursue a teaching profession. Visit the PESB website for more information about the program and its components.


All courses below will be held virtually. For courses with a Part A and Part B, it is highly recommended that you attend Part A courses prior to attending Part B courses to ensure content relevency and continuity.

For more information or if you have any questions about these course offerings, contact Cristy McCorkle or Lama Chikh. The most up-to-date course deadlines and info can be found on the WEA ESP Professional Development page.


Para-Bytes (24 clock hours)

8 Session Series:
Saturdays - Fall 2022: October 1, October 8, October 22, November 5, November 12, December 3, December 10 and December 17
9:00am-10:00am

Para-Bytes is a series of 24 topics designed to offer quick information and resources to support students with disabilities in the general education setting. Designed for paraprofessionals (or substitutes or preservice educators), Para-Bytes are organized into four categories that cover everything you need to provide inclusive support to all students. Each "Byte answers common questions about inclusive education and they are conveniently organized into: Foundational Bytes, Academic Support Bytes, Behavioral Bytes, and Independence, Interdependence, and the Need to Belong Bytes. For centuries, schools worked well for those students who arrived ready to learn. When students struggled, they were often labeled as disabled - yet research is now clear that it's not students, but our systems, that are disabled. Inclusive practices challenge education systems of the past by embracing student variability and eliminating barriers to learning. In this series, participants will explore the concepts of variability and barriers in educational settings and dive into why it is critical for us to create more equitable and inclusive learning environments so that all learners can thrive and succeed. The first eight sessions will take place in Fall 2022, and the remaining sixteen sessions will be scheduled in Winter and Spring 2023. Attend whichever sessions you would like. Each session will contain a 10-15 minute video highlighting a key question, small group discussions, collaboration, and resources.
Register: All Sessions


PD 4 Paras - 4-Part Series (14.5 clock hours)

     ∙ Session 1 - Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 5:00pm-6:30pm (Going Beyond the Label)
     ∙ Session 2 - Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 5:00pm-6:30pm (Helping Kids Become Independent)
     ∙ Session 3 - Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - (Decoding the ABCs of the IEP)
     ∙ Session 4 - Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - (Dealing with Big Emotions)

This four-part series was designed specifically for PreK-12 paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, and one-on-one aides. The series includes sessions about going beyond the label, helping kids become independent, decoding the ABCs of the IEP, and dealing with big emotions. In addition to the four asynchronous modules, there will be three 1.5-hour and one 2-hour live virtual sessions to come together, reflect, and discuss the asynchronous content. For each module, you will watch a video and explore the resources before joining the live discussion sessions via Zoom. 
Register: All Sessions (10/4, 10/18, 11/16 & 12/7)


FCS 01: Introduction to Cultural Identity and Diversity Part A (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 8, 2022 or Saturday, November 12, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants will gain an awareness and deeper understanding of ways to engage, build relationships, and communicate with the diverse backgrounds of their students. Participants will leart ways to identify and respond to racism, discrimination, and stereotypes in the classroom, as well as ways to foster and support a safe, positive, and culturally inclusive environment.
Register: 10/8/2022; 11/12/2022


FCS 02: Educational and Instructional Support (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 8, 2022 or Saturday, November 12, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants will learn classroom and building based instructional strategies and supports to assist classroom teachers in various learning environments and with diverse learning styles. Participants will review Washington Learner Standards and have basic awareness of academic achievement goals. Identifying basic instructional support methods to assist classroom teachers, and diverse learning styles and strategies best suited to enhance and complement student learning requirements various learning styles will also be covered. 
Register: 10/8/2022; 11/12/2022


Tier 1: Behavior Interventions Differentiated for Students - Part A  (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 8, 2022 or Saturday, November 12, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

This class is for ALL ESPs that work with students. The course is focused on how to work with students who are demonstrating unsuccessful behaviors. Participants will learn why student expectations for behavior should be high and how to redefine discipline as a growth and teaching opportunity rather than punishment. 
Register: 10/8/2022; 11/12/2022


Building Winning Teams: Effective Communication, Collaboration, and Instruction (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 8, 2022 or Saturday, November 12, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants in this course learn tools and resources to better support students and increase student achievement. Topics include Characteristics of New Paraeducator and Teacher Teams, Guiding Principles for Paraeducators, Paraprofessional Responsibilities, and Planning and Working Together: Strategies for Clear Communication Between Teacher and Paraeducator.
Register: 10/8/2022; 11/12/2022


FCS 06: Equity (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 or Saturday, November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Paraeducators will gain an awareness of the legalities, polices, procedure and practices surrounding discrimination and how to respond to such violations. This course is designed to help foster a learning environment that is unbiased, safe and promotes the academic success of all students.
Register: 10/15/2022; 11/19/2022


FCS 11/12 Communication Basics and Challenges (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 or Saturday, November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants will gain an understanding of essential communication strategies, conflict management, conflict resolution and how to effectively work in a team environment. This course is designed to help enhance collaboration and communication between paraeducators and other applicable stakeholders that will enhance student success and achievement.
Register: 10/15/2022; 11/19/2022


Tier 2 Behavior Interventions Differentiated for Students - Part B (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 or Saturday, November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants will learn how to change interactions with students positively through courageous conversations so that students feel included, valued and respected.
Register: 10/15/2022; 11/19/2022


Communicating Effectively with Diverse Students and Families (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 or Saturday, November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

Participants will gain an awareness and deeper understanding of ways to engage, build relationships and communicate with the diverse backgrounds of students and families. This course is designed to help ensure that students experience a positive, consistent, safe, unbiased and equitable space wherever they are in schools.
Register: 10/15/2022; 11/19/2022


Building Winning Teams II: A Deeper Dive to Focus on Discourse/Scenario-Based Immersion (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 or Saturday, November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

In this follow-up to Building Winning Teams, participants will take a deeper dive into the paraeducator-teacher relationship/partnership and work effectively together to have a positive impact on student learning through scenarios, role-playing and discussion. Participants in this course practice tools and resources through role-modeling and scenarios to better support students and increase student achievement.
Register: 10/15/2022; 11/19/2022


Keeping the Wheels on the Road: Transportation and Student Success (7 clock hours)

3 Session Series:
     ∙ Session 1 - Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 5:30pm-7:30pm
     ∙ Session 2 - Tuesday, October
 18, 2022 - 5:30pm-7:30pm
     ∙ Session 3 - Saturday, October 22, 2022 - 
9:00am-12:00pm

To close the opportunity gaps and help all students succeed, schools need to expand classroom cultural practices, policies, and strategies to transportation employees. Transportation employees are critical to the student success. Course topics include: Qualities Needed for Success (based on the NEA Professional Development Standards for ESPs), Identify and Improve Communication Skills, Learn How Students Communicate, and Creating Relationships and Managing the Bus Environment. This three session course is designed for transportation employees.
Register: All Sessions (10/15, 10/18 & 10/22)


Embracing Diversity with True Colors (4 clock hours)

Saturday, October 29, 2022 and November 19, 2022
9:00am-1:00pm

In this training, participants use the True Colors system to focus on embracing diversity in the classroom and in the larger school community to improve learning opportunities for all students and enhance communication between student, teacher, staff, and parents. The True Colors system identifies intrinsic values, motivations, self-esteem, sources of dignity and worthiness, causes of stress, communication styles, listening styles, non-verbal responses, language patterns, social skills, learning styles, environmental motivators, cultural appeal, negative mental states, relationship orientation, and ethical behaviors.
Register: 10/29/202211/19/2022


ESP Deeper Dive Session 1: Data Does Matter - The Power of Observation (2 clock hours)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
5:00pm-7:00pm

Participants will learn why and how to use observational data to build student relationships and improve behavioral and academic success. Participants will learn educational observational data is most commonly used method for behavioral science, a scientific tool to collect data. a systematically planned and subject to check and controls on validity and reliability, and a process of recording the behavior patterns of people and occurrences without questioning or communicating.
Register: 11/9/2022


ESP Deeper Dive Session 2: True Grit - Rethinking Grit and Resiliency Through Equity Intergration (2 clock hours)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022
5:00pm-7:00pm

Educators use buzz words like "grit" and “resiliency” all the time when describing at-risk students who beat the odds and find success in school and life. But that is only part of the success story. True grit and resiliency have to incorporate equity strategies so we don't just focus on the ones that have grit, but helps us to teach the skills to those who need it. 
Register: 11/16/2022


ESP Deeper Dive Session 3 - Pronouns Have Purpose

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
5:00pm-7:00pm

Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing. Positive experiences of social gender affirmation are critical to the health and well-being of transgender gender diverse people. Social interactions where a person is addressed by their correct name and pronouns, consistent with their gender identity, are widely recognized as a basic — yet critical — aspect of gender affirmation. In this course, educators will discuss the importance of using pronouns and how to use them effectively in schools creating a ensure a supportive environment for everyone in the education community.
Register: 12/7/2022


ESP Deeper Dive Session 4 - Your Body Talks Louder Than You Do

Wednesday, December 14, 2022
5:00pm-7:00pm
As educators, we spend so much time verbally instructing and directing children. So, it is frustrating when they choose to ignore or not do what we’ve instructed them to do. We need to consider the non-verbal ways we communicate with our students, because that’s one of the missing pieces to effective communication needed for student engagement. Understanding that most non-verbal communication is done subconsciously, you might not have any idea how students may perceive you. You may think your student isn’t listening, but they are observing what your body language is saying to them. 
Register: 12/14/2022