ESD 112’s ESD-U offers working educators an alternative pathway to certification or added endorsements while capitalizing on their current, on the job experience. The ESD-U program is designed for staff with a bachelor’s degree working in a classified instructional capacity (such as paraeducators) to earn certifications, and for certified teachers to add endorsements. Currently, ESD-U partners with districts in the ESD 112 region in Southwest Washington, and has been approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board.

The program supports a “grow-your-own” approach, accommodating teachers working within local school districts to fulfill a majority of the field experience requirements within their regular positions. This is in addition to attending synchronous online courses and passing a state-required assessment.

In a recent article featured on Washougal School District’s website, Veronica Paredes, an English Language Learners (ELL) Paraeducator, and now a Dual Language Kindergarten teacher at Hathaway Elementary, and is earning her ELL and Elementary Education endorsements through the ESD-U program. She noted the benefits of participating in the ESD-U program as opposed to other teacher certification programs, noting the flexibility that allowed her to complete the required coursework and field experience as part of her current job.

“I think to study in ESD-U is a good opportunity,” said Paredes. “Their class schedules are accessible when you have a full-time job. All the instructors and staff have a lot of experience. They teach and guide you.”

Read the full feature on Washougal School District’s website.

The admission process for the 2022-2023 cohort will be available in 2022. Applications will be available by January 31, 2022. ESD-U offers financial flexibility for candidates, as well as scholarships for qualified candidates.

Visit the ESD-U web page, for more information about the program, and to sign up to attend one of the upcoming monthly informational sessions about the upcoming 2022-2023 program.