Clock hours are a unit of currency for continuing education. They can be used to obtain and renew certificates for Washington teachers, administrators, educational staff associates (ESAs), and are now used in the paraeducator certificate program.
PESB convened a workgroup in 2019 to review Washington clock hour policy. At the July 2019 board meeting, PESB approved changes to clock hour policy based on the workgroup’s recommendations.
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There will be no changes to the approval process for clock hour providers in 2019. Clock hour providers may now apply for approval through the OSPI Certification Office. The application deadline is August 20, 2019. Questions on the clock hour provider approval process should be directed to the OSPI Certification Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 725-6400.
What were the workgroup focus areas?
Recommendations from the workgroup focused around the following areas:
- Flexibility and access for all educators seeking professional learning, including consideration of rural and urban areas, and educators in all roles
- Streamlining the system: Examining the system for unnecessary, duplicative, or overly burdensome processes
- Accountability: For clock hour providers, participants, and other individuals and organizations in the system
- Standards for clock hours
View WAC language adopted by the Board.
Flexibility and access
The board adopted provisions increasing flexibility and access for educators across our state.
- The minimum time for which a clock hour course may be offered is reduced from three hours to one hour. (181-85-030)
- Continuing education units (CEUs) from accredited colleges or universities, whether in-state or out-of-state, will now be accepted as clock hours. Other non-credit bearing units, such as Professional Development Units (PDUs), will also be accepted. Credits from these same institutions are already accepted. (181-85-025)
- All educators who hold specific Department of Health (DOH) licenses, not just educational staff associates (ESAs), can use hours that satisfy the DOH licensure requirements as clock hours for continuing education. (181-85-077)
- Continuing education hours (STARS hours) from the Washington Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) will be accepted as clock hours. (181-85-025)
Activities which may not serve as clock hours
Clock hours may not be offered for:
- Individuals serving as the instructor for a course for which that individual is the only participant. (new)
- Routine staff meetings to discuss or explain operational policies or administrative practices
- Business meetings of professional associations to discuss operational policies or practices
- Social hours or actual mealtime. (181-85-030)
Approval of courses
Before offering a course, the provider’s clock hour committee must approve:
- Date of course
- Number of clock hours being offered
- Course objectives and program agenda
- Instructors and their qualifications
- Relation of course to clock hour standards (181-85-202)
Clock hours may not be issued retroactively. (181-85-045, 181-85-200)
- Participants must register prior to taking courses. Providers must keep records of this. (181-85-205)
When partnering with another organization, an approved clock hour provider cannot provide blanket approval of all courses from that organization. The approved clock hour provider must follow all relevant policy for approving each individual course from another organization. (181-85-200)
Clock hour providers are subject to audit. Providers found not to be in compliance with WAC chapter 181-85 will no longer be eligible to provider clock hours. (181-85-220, 181-85-225)
The content and objectives of clock hour courses must relate to one or more of the following:
- Opportunities for participants to collect and analyze evidence related to student learning;
- Professional certificate standards;
- Paraeducator standards of practice as described in Title 179;
- School and district improvement efforts;
- Education frameworks and curriculum alignment;
- Research-based instructional strategies and assessment practices;
- Content of current or anticipated assignment;
- Advocacy for students and leadership;
- Supervision, mentoring, or coaching; or
- Building a collaborative learning community. (181-85-202)
- Clock hour providers must provide course evaluations to the participants, and, to the extent possible, collect these evaluations.
- The designated administrator must periodically report summaries of evaluations to the clock hour committee. Summaries of evaluations must be available to OSPI staff for review. (181-85-200)
- Course evaluations must address the following. Local providers can also add items.
- The extent to which the written objectives have been met;
- Participant perception of relevance and quality of the course;
- The extent to which the activities identified in the clock hour standards addressed by the course have been met;
- The extent to which the course provided the opportunity for participants to reflect on next steps or implementation of the learning in their practice; (new in WAC)
- Suggestions for improving the course if repeated. (181-85-200)
Clock hour committees
Each clock hour provider must have a designated administrator and a clock hour committee. The designated administrator and clock hour committee members must be identified in the annual application to become an approved clock hour provider.
The committee will be composed of individuals who may include:
- Educational staff associates (ESAs)
- Community members, or
- Representatives from colleges and universities.
An organization’s board of directors may serve as its clock hour committee. (181-85-045)
Becoming a provider
The following organizations may apply to serve as clock hour providers (181-85-045):
- Accredited colleges or universities
- Non-profit or not-for-profit organizations. These organizations must provide documentation of non-profit or not-for-profit status.
- State-approved private schools
- Local, state, or federal agencies
- School districts are considered to be approved clock hour providers and do not need to apply, but do need to follow regulations in WAC.
View lists of present and past clock hour providers on the OSPI website.
Clock hour providers must apply annually for approval. Providers submit an application to the OSPI certification office. Visit the OSPI website for application details.
In the annual approval process:
- Clock hour committee members, the designated administrator, and the website must be identified.
- Applicants must describe how they will meet the program standards and recordkeeping requirements.
- Applicants will provide other information as requested by OSPI. (181-85-210)
Questions on the clock hour provider approval process should be directed to the OSPI Certification Office at email@example.com or (360) 725-6400.
Providers must keep the following for seven years:
- Documentation that the clock hour committee approved a course’s date, number of hours, objectives, relation to clock hour standards, instructors & their qualifications before the course being offered
- Summary of course evaluations, and minutes showing that the committee reviewed these evaluations.
- Participant registration list.
The clock hour form must provide a space for the participant to indicate they are requesting fewer than the total number of clock hours offered due to partial attendance.
Upon request, providers must provide clock hour documentation to participants for seven years following the course. (181-85-205)
Clock hour providers will give participants specific instructions regarding the need to retain clock hour documentation. (181-85-205)
Clock hours serve in two main ways:
- Obtaining and renewing a certificate.
- Salary advancement. Salary advancement through clock hours is not part of PESB policy.
Educators themselves retain their own records of continuing education hours for any audit conducted by OSPI. Intentional misrepresentation subjects the holder to revocation of their certificate. Educators retain records to address possible disputes, and for verification for a current or prospective employer. (181-85-085)
Documents to retain include:
- Clock hour forms
- College and university transcripts
- Official correspondence from clock hour providers verifying completion of clock hours
- Professional Growth Plan (PGP) documents including plans, required signatures, and evidence collected. (181-85-107)
Documents must be retained by the educator for one year after the lapse date of the certificate, or until audited by OSPI, whichever is earlier. (181-85-108, 181-85-109)