Sunday, June 23, 2024
June 23, 2024

School district, CUPE local partner to help fund EA certification 

Hopeful educational assistants (EAs) willing to learn on the job have a new pathway to certification, thanks to a coordinated initiative between the school district and the CUPE local. 

In a cost-sharing plan detailed at the latest Gulf Islands Board of Education meeting last Wednesday, the expense of EA training and certification will be evenly split between the applicant, the Gulf Islands School District and CUPE Local 788 — up to $2,000 reimbursement from the district and from the CUPE local, according to associate superintendent D’Arcy Deacon. 

“One of the items that continues to be a challenge is recruitment and retention for support staff, in particular educational assistants,” said Deacon. “I think we have been very successful in our recruitment strategies on a local basis to find individuals who are a great fit for the role — albeit not always qualified, but open and willing to learn and grow.” 

The program is open to all members of CUPE Local 788 — an employee of the school district — so the pathway for anyone interested who is not currently a member would be to apply for casual educational assistant work, and go through that application and interview process, said Deacon. 

“We have folks who are in this position, who range from ‘I’ve never done it, I’m not sure I want to’ to ‘I just need a couple more courses’,” said Deacon.  

Uncertified individuals are typically brought into the district categorized as Paraprofessional-3, Deacon added, at which level they aren’t eligible to hold a continuing position; full certification brings them to the Paraprofessional-4 level. 

“That comes with the stability of knowing that employment exists year over year,” said Deacon. 

Interested employees should contact Deacon at or CUPE president Angela Thomas at for more information. 

Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed

Receive news headlines every week with our free email newsletter.

Other stories you might like

Indigenous People Weekend meaning shared

By MARCIA JANSEN DRIFTWOOD CONTRIBUTOR  Salt Spring Island is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day with a three-day weekend of events and activities that celebrate Indigenous arts and...

Ganges Hill improvement plans detailed

Plans for road construction this summer on Salt Spring Island are becoming clearer, and a submission for tenders expiring Friday, June 21 reveals some...

School board opts for livestreaming

A draft meeting schedule for the coming year has been laid out for Gulf Islands School District (SD64) Board of Education members — and...

Summer Outdoor Concert Series lineup released

INFO SUBMITTED BY SS ARTS With the return of the Summer Outdoor Concert Series (SOCS), community members and island visitors will gather in Centennial Park...


  1. What qualifies a person to be “certified” in this case? Is it just a “warm body” program or one that equips the student to be completely trained to work with kids with diverse needs? And how long is the program?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here