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A Special Message About ESP Members

Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day focuses on the importance of these school support staff employees, who take care of students every day, making sure they have the tools that they need to succeed in today's world!!

To recognize and honor the more than 2.9 million educational support professionals who make up 40% of the total K-12 educational workforce, the National Education Association and its membership are celebrating Education Support Professionals Day on November 20th, 2013. The celebration is part of NEA's 92nd Annual American Education Week taking place November 18-25th, 2013.

Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day was first celebrated in 1987, after the NEA's Representative Assembly called for the creation of a way to honor the contributions of school support staff in the world of education.

In 2003, the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the ESP formal name from "Education Support Personnel" to "Education Support Professionals" , after a campaign by the National Council of Education Support Professional members. The name change to "professional" acknowledges the major contribution ESP's make to children and public education every day. WE impact the lives of children every day in the classroom and in our own special and professional ways.

The name reflects a growing pride in the essential role ESP's play in creating great public school's for every American student throughout America's public schools. Today's support professionals provide invaluable services that enable students to learn in positive, supportive environments.

ESPs are equal and essential partners in the education process.

"By participating in Education Support Professionals Day, we will be joining millions of people nationwide in celebrating the hard work, dedication and invaluable services our education support professionals provide," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "They are unsung heroes who drive our students to school, help them cross the street, provide them with nutritious meals, serve as partners in educating our children and keep school buildings safe, operational and clean."

Education support professionals include the following:

  • Paraeducator employees who provide instructional and noninstructional support as partners in student learning
  • Clerical service employees who are the front line of public relations with parents and staff and the community
  • Custodians who pay constant attention to all safety conditions in schools
  • Maintenance service employees who are responsible for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and overall safety for the entire school environment
  • Transportation service employees who are the first and last person(s) seen by our students in a day
  • Food service employees who provide the most basic component of student achievement: nutrition
  • Skilled trades employees who are responsible for the physical quality of our school building environments
  • Health and student service employees who are vital to student health and welfare within a public school
  • Security service employees who are responsible for the safety and security of students, staff community and campus property
  • Technical service employees who provide essential technical services throughout a school district

For to each ESP, education is far more than just another job or utility. Education is each child's future, the hope and prayers of our nation. For that future, each day, ESP give their work, love, and dedication.

Thank you to all the ESP's in the Great State of Maine and around the USA for all the work they do on supporting students!!

The following poem about us as ESP's, written by Dave Arnold, a member of the Illinois Education Association and a custodian at Brownstown Elementary School in Southern Illinois, sums everything up nicely that makes us all Extra Special People!!! Thanks Dave.

What If ?
Let’s suppose just for a moment, what if there weren’t any ESP
What would become of our schools and where would education be
If not for the dedication of each Education Support Professional
How could our schools ever survive or even function at all

For the bus driver wouldn’t be there to pick up children along the way
The doors wouldn’t be unlocked, the lights on, or the buildings heated each day
The aides wouldn’t be there to help those children with a special need
Or the cooks wouldn’t have a hot and tasty meal ready for all to feed

School security wouldn’t be there to watch over the children with care
Each child’s records wouldn’t be the secretary’s load to bear
The computers would crash without the technician to keep them up to date
And not for the maintenance personnel, one can only guess the school’s fate

And there are many more that give so much, each in a different capacity
For to each ESP, education is far more than just another job or utility
Education is each child’s future, the hope and prayers of our nation
For that future, each day, ESP give their work, love, and dedication
-Dave Arnold


Bob Calderwood
Maine Education Association
Board of Directors, ESP

MEA Benefits Trust

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