Trainings and webinars for education support professionals

ESP Sparks_0547

The WEA ESP Professional Development 'TEAM' program aims to provide transformative engaging applicable meaningful training that supports all students.

Spring 2023 Courses

The new Spring course catalog is now available for download. All classes will be held virtually. Participants can enroll in either a one-day or two-day class. It is highly recommended that members attend Part A prior to attending Part B to ensure content relevancy and continuity.

Clock hours: 4 clock hours are available for each class unless otherwise noted.

Contact Cristi McCorkle and Lama Chikh if you have questions about course offerings.

Fundamental Course of Study 01, 02, 06, 11 and 12
Newer paraeducators are required to take Fundamental Course of Study hours.

FCS01/06 Intro to Cultural Identity and Diversity/Equity

Offered June 10 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 7 clock hours
Participants will gain an awareness and deeper understanding of ways to engage, build relationships and communicate with the diverse backgrounds of their students. There will also be a focus on the legalities, polices, procedure and practices surrounding discrimination and how to respond to such violations.   This course is designed for paraeducators to help ensure that students experience a positive, consistent, safe, unbiased and equitable classroom which will enhance educational opportunities and student achievement.

Part A: Introduction to Cultural Identity and Diversity


  • Describe ways to identify and respond to racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the classroom
  • List strategies for supporting cultural responsiveness and anti-biased instruction
  • Describe ways to foster and support a safe, positive, and culturally inclusive environment
  • Explain ways students’ family, language, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic background, and other cultural assets impact behavior and learning
  • Describe strategies to support cultural inclusion and responsiveness when assisting in instruction
  • Demonstrate respectful behavior when working with diverse students

Part B: Equity


  • Identify the basic regulations and polices that apply to the civil rights of students
  • Describe ways to respond to racism, discrimination, and stereotypes based on family, language, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic background, or other elements of culture
  • Define discrimination and recognize unlawful practices

Register for the June 10 session.

FCS 02/11/12 Educational and Instructional Support Communication Basics/Challenges

Offered June 10, 7 clock hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Participants will learn classroom and building based instructional strategies and supports to assist classroom teachers in various learning environments and with diverse learning styles. This training will also focus on essential communication strategies, conflict management, conflict resolution and how to effectively work in a team environment in order to increase student achievement.

Paraeducator Cert Educational and Instructional Support (4 hr)


  • Identify basic instructional support methods to assist classroom teachers (small group work, one–to-one, computer aided learning programs)
  • Introduce diverse learning styles and strategies best suited to enhance and complement student learning requirements various learning styles
  • Review Washington Learner Standards and have basic awareness of academic achievement goals
  • Demonstrate various instructional support strategies to assist classroom teachers
  • Identify strategies to support classroom environments and apply materials to meet the goals of multicultural requirements
  • Recognize appropriate instructional support materials which represent and support various cultures and abilities

Pareducator Cert. Collaborative Communication


Part A: Communication Basics (2 hr)

  • Identify communication skills required for working with team members
  • Explain the importance of decision making as it applies to school-based teams
  • Explain the four stages of developing effective teams
  • Describe questioning strategies which improve performance, productivity and clarify misunderstandings
  • Identify strategies used to initiate and receive feedback regarding student learning and/or personal performance
  • Describe ways to apply conflict resolution strategies

Part B: Communication Challenges (1 hr)

  • Identify and give examples of the types of strategies used to seek, provide and clarify information and feedback to staff, students and families
  • Discuss the nature and possible sources of conflict among team members, students and families
  • Identify strategies for repairing relationships after conflict
  • Identify and apply problem solving processes to various case studies and scenarios

Register for the June 10 session.

WEA - Organizing your Workplace and Beyond

Offered May 13 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) for Clerical Services Staff. This course does not provide clock hours; only certificate of attendance.
Why is an organized clerical space important for students? Why is the office so important for students? As office professionals it is very important to be able to provide the resources for staff, students, and families. Resources from district or community education partners are essential for the process to help and support all those involved in the growth and advancement of educators, ESPs, and accordingly, students.

  • Participants will be able to keep track and maintain work information that supports student and their academic success. Ex. Ensuring that educators have all students' records filed in an efficient way with easy access.
  • Participants will learn strategies to retrieve necessary data quickly and how to communicate that information to the administration and the educator in their process of helping students.
  • Have a functional simple workspace that serves your daily tasks as well as parents, the community and students, and also provides a safe place for students when they are sent to the office. Ex. Do you have place for them to be safe and busy? Coloring books? Play station?
  • Create a collaborative vision as a group where job alike tasks become uniform district wide so when students are moved from one school to another can recognize the rules and expectations that help them succeed and alleviate the stress behind the change.
  • When we identify the needs as a group, we are able to provide support for each other, and ultimately support to students and families district wide.
  • Learn how to mentor colleagues who are struggling by regularly offering support and guidance through workshops and meetings tailored based on the needs of the colleague/s that you are providing support for. When we minimize our colleagues struggles, we increase our services to students.

When we notice weaknesses in our workplace when it comes to providing the same support for all students and meeting them where they are, then we know that we are well organized and ready to advocate for them using all the tools that are available for us as a whole.

Register for the May 13 course.

WEA - BWT ll: A deeper dive to focus on collab discourse/scenario-based immersion

Offered May 13 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), 4 clock hours, for paraeducators.
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.

Course Objectives:

  • Participants will learn to define and delineate roles and responsibilities for the para and teacher
  • Communicating strategies and creating a system for transparency
  • How to manage and resolve conflict using the 7-step problem-solving method
  • Self-awareness and your personal effect on the team
  • Practice the 5 “knows” of collaborative teaming 

Register for the May 13 session.

Embracing Diversity with True Colors

Offered May 13 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) for all ESPs; also can be used for Para General Certificate.
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.

Course Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to recognize diverse learning styles and communication styles in the classroom and with colleagues that will enable them to communicate in a manner that information will be better received.
  • Understand their own communication styles (positive and negative) and learn strategies to alter their personal communication skills to meet various circumstances.
  • Learn the value of creating teams that incorporate different learning and communication styles, increasing in creativity, learning and acceptance.

Register for the May 13 session.

Here a Trigger, There a Trigger, Everywhere a Student Trigger

Offered May 25 (5-7 p.m.), 2 hours
As schools begin to put in place trauma informed practices, one of the most important preventative measures is to identify student triggers. Once we can identify triggers, we can create prevention strategies to reduce student triggers
and the resulting negative behavior that often is associated.

Student triggers can be transitions, individuals, sensory disorders, directives, word or even colors that cause an automatic emotional or behavioral response. And once a student is triggered, as adults we sometimes use intense responses to minimize recurrences. Unfortunately, our responses can include unjust treatment, challenged beliefs, loss of control, disapproval, or criticism of the student thereby eroding the educator/student relationship.

Course objectives:

  • Participants will learn what triggers are observable signs and symptoms
  • How to mitigate the triggered behavior with research proven strategies and tools

Register for this course.

Assets, Strength and Resilience of Immigrant Students

Offered June 10 (9 a.m. to noon), 3 hours
The United States has always been seen as a refuge for people who are seeking safety and a better future for their families. We often focus on the myriad of challenges for our immigrant students; economic, language, cultural, anti-immigrant  sentiment and separation of families. In this course we will focus on the assets and strength of immigrant students; their  resilience, aspirations, dedication to hard work, positive attitudes toward school, family support and culture which enriches our  classrooms. In this course we will look at the immigrant population of families and students and ways to support them so that they feel safe and secure at school.

Course objectives:

  • What is an immigrant?
  • Why do people migrate to the US and what are the different kinds of immigrations?
  • What are the emotional and mental effects of immigration on families and specifically on kids?
  • How can the education system support families and students of immigrants feel included and help them integrate so that these children succeed?
  • How can we help our educators look at the immigrants’ families and students as assets rather than a burden?

Register for this course.

Maintenance and Custodial Series
WEA and Labor and Industry have teamed up to provide a series of courses to assist members in these challenging positions. Hear first-hand about your rights and responsibilities, updated industry standards, chemical and material usage, biological protocols, and prevention measures.

Custodian and Maintenance: Accident Prevention, Reporting and Recording

Offered May 13 (9 a.m. to noon). Clock hours will not be provided; only certificate of attendance.
Every employer in Washington state is required to create a written Accident Prevention Program (APP) to address the seafety and health hazards found in their workplace. Many employers consider their APP as their cornerstone safety program. When Districts follow safety rules and policies it will reduce accidents and will keep workers working. In this course you will learn:

  • WAC 296-800-140 Accidence Prevention for Employers
  • Preventative measures
  • How to create a safety plan
  • How to report and record safety hazards and injuries on the job

Register for the May 13 course.

Lunchroom, Playground and Crossing Guards - Strategies for Success

Offered May 13 (9 a.m. to noon), 3 clock hours
Unstructured time (on the playground, in the lunchroom, and walking to/from school) is a time when students demonstrate autonomy and behaviors that are quite different from the structured classroom. You may see issues that don't occur once your student(s) step back into the traditional school setting. What are some strategies that can help you build relationships, create systems, and de-escalate issues when they occur, and help you establish yourself as a critical piece to 
each student's success.

Register online for this course.

If you missed one of NEA's monthly professional development webinars for education support professionals, you are in luck. Watch NEA's archived ESP webinar recordings.

NEA ESP Professional Growth

To ensure a great public education for every student, education support professionals (ESPs) want and deserve opportunities for professional growth throughout their careers. Visit NEA's listing for ESP professional development opportunities.