Opportunities exist for districts to address staffing shortages in special education. The following
questions and answers will assist districts in understanding the options available
to them when they are unable to recruit and hire individuals who do not have
a special education endorsement.
1. What is the difference between a temporary out-of-endorsement assignment and a pre-endorsement waiver?
A temporary out-of-endorsement assignment is:
- Completed at the district level
- Available when the individual to be assigned has completed six semester hours or nine quarter hours of coursework applicable to a special education endorsement
- Approved by formal vote of local school board
- WAC 392-172A-02090(2)(b)(ii)
A pre-endorsement waiver requires:
- Completion of an OSPI application
- A potential candidate who has completed 16 semester hours or 24 quarter
hours applicable towards a special education endorsement
- OSPI approval
2. When is it appropriate
for a district to initiate the processes for a temporary out-of-endorsement
assignment or application for a pre-endorsement waiver? What are the processes?
Both temporary out-of-endorsement assignment
and a pre-endorsement waiver are to be used as a last resort in staffing a
special education teaching position. A district must document that every attempt
has been made to recruit and hire an individual who is appropriately certified
and endorsed to teach special education. Should a district be unable to recruit
and hire an individual who is qualified to teach special education, it may wish
to proceed with a temporary out-of-endorsement
assignment or request a potential applicant to apply for a pre-endorsement waiver.
In both of these instances the individuals time and effort may be charged to
either the federal or state funding code.
The temporary out-of-endorsement assignment process is completed entirely at the district
WAC 392-172A-02090 explains in detail the steps a district must take to assign,
temporarily, an unendorsed individual in a special education teaching position.
This is the same process a district uses to assign any teacher to an area, which she/he does not have, an endorsement (WAC 181-82-110). The individual who is assigned to the
special education position must hold a valid Washington State teaching certificate.
This individual must have completed six semester hours or nine quarter hours
of coursework applicable towards a special education endorsement. All out-of-endorsement
assignments must be reported annually to the State Board of Education by the
employing school district (WAC
180-16-195). It is important to note that a special education
endorsed individual within the district must review and monitor the IEP, as
it is assumed the unendorsed individual does not have the credentials to fully
complete the special education requirements. Districts are urged to use this
temporary assignment sparingly and to either recruit and hire a properly credentialed
individual or ensure the person in the temporary assignment is pursuing a special
education endorsement. Continued hiring of inappropriately credentialed individuals
is not an educationally sound practice.
The pre-endorsement waiver requires an OSPI application process. the application can be found at
http://www.k12.wa.us/specialed/waivers.aspx. The district making the job offer or contemplating
an assignment, the potential applicant, and the Institution of Higher Education
(IHE) where the applicant is enrolled must each complete specific sections of
the application. Once the application is complete, it is sent to the special
education section at OSPI for review. If the applicant meets the criteria for
the waiver, this individual is sent a letter with a copy to the district indicating
he/she has five service years as a special education teacher to complete the
endorsement requirements. This individual is considered competent to write IEPs
and commit district resources as the district's designee, unless the district
indicates otherwise. It should be noted that if an individual moves to another
district, the pre-endorsement waiver remains valid for that individual.
3. May an individual who holds a continuing certificate be assigned to a special education teaching
If the certificate holder was eligible for a continuing certificate prior to August 31, 1987 or had applied
for said certificate prior to July 1, 1988 and met the eligibility requirements
for the certificate prior to August 31, 1988, she/he may be assigned to a special
education teaching position. Continuing certificates issued prior to August
31, 1988 did not require an endorsement for special education. Individuals with
these continuing certificates are exempted from the new regulation requirements
(WAC 181-79A-250(3)). This individual's time and effort may be charged to either
the federal or state funding code.
4. May an individual who holds a special education k-12 endorsement teach in a special education
Preference for an early childhood special education assignment must
be given first to employees having early childhood special education endorsement."
If a district is unable to recruit and hire an individual who is endorsed in
early childhood special education, another individual holding a special education
endorsement (k-12) may be assigned to the preschool position. If a district
is unable to recruit and hire an individual with either an early childhood special
education endorsement or a k-12 special education endorsement, then the district
may want to consider a temporary out-of-endorsement assignment or,
if appropriate, hire an individual who can meet the pre-endorsement waiver requirements.
It should be noted individuals pursuing a special education endorsement after
September 2003 will be endorsed in the area p-12. Individuals pursuing only
an early childhood special education endorsement will be endorsed p-3. Time
and effort can be charged to either the federal or state funding code.