The Fundamental Course of Study is a four-day (28-hour), standards-based training for all instructional paraeducators in Washington. Districts are required to provide two days of FCS training per school year, based on legislative funding. HB 1942 (Donaghy) aims to expedite how soon newly hired paraeducators receive their FCS training.
- The bill requires districts to provide the first day (seven hours) of FCS training to paraeducators within 30 days of hire. The remaining training must be completed within six months of the same school year.
- Two of the four training days must be provided in-person. The remaining two days must be delivered either in-person, or through online synchronous learning. (Currently, only one day is required to be in person.)
On Friday, January 28, PESB staff testified as “other” for HB 1942 at the House Education Committee public hearing. We also submitted written testimony, outlining our key observations that will impact district implementation of the FCS for new paraeducators.
HB 1492 would create challenges for many districts that hire paraeducators throughout the school year. To meet the new 30-day deadline, these districts would be required to potentially provide the same training every month a new hire is made, which is neither practical nor cost-efficient. This change reduces district flexibility in meeting the training requirements. The in-person training requirement will cause an undue burden on paraeducators in rural and small school districts, who face challenges accessing in-person training. During PESB’s community outreach, paraeducators shared that they value and prefer in-person learning, but appreciate the flexibility of online synchronous and asynchronous opportunities.
PESB has suggested language amendments that will expedite how soon new paraeducators can receive the FCS training, while also providing flexibility to school districts that are still experiencing staffing, training, and operational challenges due to the pandemic.
PESB has asked the sponsor and Committee to consider giving districts the option to deliver training through in-person, online synchronous, or asynchronous learning for all required days. This is especially important over the next few years as school districts try to emerge from the pandemic and address workforce shortages.
These recommendations will enable districts to provide meaningful learning opportunities for paraeducators to better serve students.
The bill was unanimously approved by the House Education Committee on February 1 and will continue moving forward in the legislative process.
If you have questions, please contact Laurie Weidner, legislative and policy liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org.