NEA ESP Conference…who’s going?

The countdown has begun. In just a few days ESP’s from around the country will be meeting in Seattle, Washington for the 2023 NEA ESP Conference. Are you attending? If so, what are you most looking forward to?


Theme: Joy, Justice, Excellence: The Strength of Educators. The Brilliance of Students. The Power of Community.

March 24-26, 2023
Seattle, WA

The purpose of the NEA ESP National conference to grow and strengthen the professional excellence of ESP members working in Pre-K to Higher-Ed through Association-convened, educator-led, and student-centered learning experiences. With multiple interactive workshops to choose from over the course of three days, participants enhance their knowledge and skills to advocate for students and educators, champion racial and social justice, build community relationships, strengthen and grow membership, and sustain stronger local associations, helping members excel in their careers and positively impact student success.  


Summer Leadership Registration Now Open!

Join us this summer for training on leadership skills that make a difference for our students, our locals, our schools and our communities.

Summer Leadership will be held July 24-27, 2023 at Illinois State University in Normal, IL. Professional development sessions will be held on Tuesday afternoon, July 25 and Wednesday morning, July 26.  Summer Leadership Retreats will be offered Wednesday afternoon, July 26 from 1:30 to 4:30 and Thursday morning, July 27 from 8:30 to 12:00.  The Organizing School will be held on Tuesday, July 25 & 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday, July 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Early Bird Registration will close, April 30, 2023!


View Agenda 

Request funding to attend here:

Scholarship Form


2023 Illinois Representative Assembly

Wow!! What a fabulous first day of the Illinois Representative Assembly. We heard from fabulous speakers, listened and debated several New Business Items that will direct and lead our union. We celebrated our new IEA award winners. I presented to a standing room only group of amazing ESP in our Education Support Professional Open Hearing. Then, I had the opportunity to present for an impromptu group when their presenter was unable to present. I had a great time and felt like we had a really beneficial discussion! Last but not least I gave an update on rESPect to 1100 of my closest union friends. 🙂 Wooo…long day!

Day two is off to a great start!! A lot more business will be accomplished.

Great things are happening here in Illinois.


HB 2784 Passed Through Committee!!

Today Debra Ward Mitchell, 2022 NEA ESP of the Year and IEA Vice-Chair on the Education Support Professional Council spoke in front of the Illinois Labor and Commerce Committee on behalf of HB2784. With a vote of 17 in favor and 8 opposed the committee moved our bill out of committee. We still have a ways to go…but we are one fabulous step closer to getting this bill passed.

Thank you, to everyone who supported HB2784! In two and a half days we rallied and our members came through with 678 witness slips in support of raising the ESP minimum wage.


Help Move HB 2784 – ASAP!!

This Wednesday legislators are bringing our bill, HB2784, on raising the ESP minimum wage up for a vote. Create a witness slip to show support and help push this forward.

Last night the rESPect Legislative Team had a very informative meeting regarding creating witness slips to support legislation. The IEA Lobbyists Unique Mickens and ShiAnne Shively walked us through step-by-step directions for creating a “Witness Slip” on the Illinois General Assembly website. The attached video and PowerPoint show’s how you can help us support House Bill 2784. Please share this with your members. This is IEA’s Legislation that would set a minimum ESP hourly rate at $20 for the 2023-24 school year, $21 for the 2024-25 school year and $22 for the 2025-26 school year.

Click here – Click Create Witness Slip, Scroll to HB 2784, click the pencil on the right. Review attachments for additional supports to complete.

Need your help and support now

HB2784 will be in committee on Wednesday, March 8th. In order to show a LOT of interest in this bill we need YOUR help TODAY or by the end of session TOMORROW. It was mentioned in the meeting that this is normal to collect witness slips a couple days before the proposal.

You can copy the recording information below and share with others

Passcode: 1.mCtH8Q

Education Support Professionals

Attention: ESP IEA RA Delegates

We are looking forward to seeing you at this year’s IEA Representative Assembly. There is a lot of important information we need to share with you!

Please be sure to attend the ESP open hearing Thursday morning from 10:00-11:00 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Rosemont (International Room C). Also, don’t forget to stop by our ESP Council and rESPect Campaign exhibit tables to say hello, pick up important informational materials to share with your members, shop for ESP promotional items, meet other ESP delegates, and get a chance to win fabulous prizes and giveaways. You really don’t want to miss it!

Did I mention prizes? Stop by the ESP Council table often to see if you are a winner and collect your prize. New prize winners will be posted throughout the RA.



Congratulations to three new Education Support Professional locals!

  • Red Bud Education Support Professionals (Region 4)
  • Minooka Education Association (Region 51)
  • Brussels Support Staff Association (Region 6)

Congratulations to a growing local!

  • SPEED Education Support Association (Region 55), is now more than 120 members strong!

Crazy Amount of ESP Resources and Information!!!

When was the last time you visited the Education Support Professional page on the IEA website?

This site has so many resources and so much information to support you and your local…from:

  • Organizing Toolkit
  • Privatization/Subcontracting and the Law
  • Professional Development
  • ESP Bargaining Resources
  • ESP Star and ESP of the Year awards
  • My favorites…connecting you with the ESP Council and rESPect Campaign

Happy Friday! What a week!!

Happy Friday!!!!

Wow, this has been a crazy, but amazing week! 4 rESPect presentations (3 in-person and 1 virtual). I love advocating for education support professionals. It’s time we all get rESPect!

Join today

If you would like a member from the rESPect Campaign to come to your region or local association and present on rESPect, please contact, Dave Vitoff at dave.vitoff@ieanea.org

Have you subbed as a classroom teacher? Know someone who has? It may be affecting your retirement more than you know.

With teacher shortages all over the state and nation, education support professionals have been stepping in to help fill the gap yet again. This time as we step up it may have negative affects on our future by affecting our pensions. Join the webinar this Saturday to learn how and what we’re doing about it.


Saturday, February 25

10 – 11am CST

Join from anywhere


Do you receive the Education Support Professional Insider Newsletter?

I can not express how important it is for ALL IEA educational support professionals to receive this newsletter. You should be receiving it in your email inbox regularly. It is filled with important information, including celebrations, trainings, updates, and so much more. Do you ever wonder what your union does for you? This is a great place to see. If you aren’t getting your ESP Insider, please check your spam folder. Then contact IEA Connect to further assist you. It could be as simple as updating your email address in their system.

I try to share as much as I can on this site…but truth is, sometimes I may miss something and I do NOT want you to miss out on ANYTHING!

We would love to hear from you and the exciting things you do in your local. Let’s celebrate your members/local accomplishments. If you would like to post something in the Insider please send it to Arlene.Criglar@ieanea.org .


Don’t miss these upcoming webinars

We have three webinars scheduled specifically for education support professionals. Join us as we discuss important issues, learn how we are advocating for members, and celebrate the amazing things that you do every day. Click the links below to register.

RESPECT | Raising Education Support Professionals by Elevating Careers Together is a statewide effort by ESPs, with the support of IEA staff, to improve working conditions by focusing on four areas:

Wages – A minimum salary, fair substitute teaching compensation and unemployment insurance

Health insurance – Affordable health insurance for the currently employed and the retired

Pensions – Making the Tier 2 pension system equitable for all education employees

Retention, recruitment and job duties – Tuition reimbursement, Grow Your Own Teacher from ESP to certified, paid family leave, licensing fees relief, quality job-related professional development, “hold harmless” language for assigned duties, appropriate access to IEPs and suitable job duties for ESPs.


2023 Spring Skills Training

Saturday  |  Feb. 25  |  10-11 a.m.
Keep Emotions Away from the Table: How to handle the emotional aspect of bargaining
In this conversation, we will discuss how emotions impact the bargaining process and how to work with difficult personalities. We will also share techniques one can implement prior to the bargaining process to help create a positive bargaining environment. Lastly, we will discuss how to handle emotions and outbursts that occur at the bargaining table.

Facilitator: Crystal Bush, IEA UniServ Director
Crystal is the coordinator of support and services for Education Support Professionals, highly experienced as a negotiator and has taught contract law to college students.
Register here!
Saturday  |  March 4   10-11 a.m.
Afraid of Public Speaking? Anyone can do it!
Participants will learn how to enhance their public speaking skills and strategies for creating a winning presentation. In order to enhance our learning, each participant will be coached on a brief presentation for feedback and positive tips.

Facilitator: Ryan Danzinger
Ryan was an IEA ESP member, middle school teacher and graduate of the NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow training. He coached the John Hersey High School Debate team for 16 years, winning three state championships.
Register here!
Saturday  |  April 1   10-11 a.m.
Paper Cuts: Understanding microaggressions in the workplace
Microaggressions can cause discord in the workplace and prevent ESPs from doing their personal best in schools with their students and colleagues. Participants will learn what they are, when they happen, and how they contribute to creating toxic work cultures along with strategies to reduce their occurrence. We will have clear conversations about micro-aggressions to create deeper and meaningful collaboration among ESPs and their colleagues.

Facilitator: Linda Matsumoto
Linda is an IEA ESP Council member, Ethnic Minority representative and educator from region 41. She is also an Asian American advocate who presents AAPI history workshops at IEA and NEA conferences.
Register here.
Wednesday  |  April 12   6:30-7:30 p.m.
Get Your MIND Right!
Join us for an intimate conversation on meditation and mindfulness. Listen, share and adopt strategies that best meet your personal and professional needs.

Facilitator: Hanifah Ross
Hanifah is an IEA Instructional Resource and Professional Development Director with more than 25 years of educational experience serving as a classroom teacher, dean of students, and program coordinator. Hanifah specializes in program development, creating restorative practice-infused programs and professional development focused on improving the attendance, behavior and academic performance of at-risk-of-not-graduating high school students.
Register here!
Wednesday  |  April 19  |  6:30-7:30 p.m.
You’re a member, now what?  – Understand the structure of the IEA?
In this training, participants will learn about the structure of the IEA with a focus on the role and relationships between staff and governance. Participants will also learn various ways to become involved at the state level including participating on state level committees. This is an ideal workshop for newer members who want to learn more about the inner workings of the IEA.

Facilitator: Amy Evans
Amy is a K-4 Educational Support Professional in Canton School District where she works as a reading aide. Amy is co-president of her local, an IEA Region chair and a member of the IEA Board of Directors.
Register here!
Thursday  |  April 20   6:30-7:30 p.m.
Van Gogh “Starry Night” Paint & Sip
In this session, we will put “mindfulness” in action. Artist DeSande R. will walk you through a watercolor painting on Van Gogh’s Starry Night. A list of suggested materials will be sent to you prior to the event. Join us with a glass of wine or your favorite evening beverage as we enjoy a relaxing evening of painting and lively discussions.

Facilitator: DeSande R.
DeSande is an art professor at John A. Logan College in Carterville, IL where she has been teaching for more than 20 years. DeSande received her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from SIU Carbondale in 2002.
Register here!

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program

Program Description


This is a great opportunity to help alleviate the shortage of qualified early childhood educators, though I realize it may increase the shortage of fabulous and essential education support professionals in our schools, I feel I must share this great opportunity.

If you work or have worked in early childhood education and you’re seeking additional credentials and/or a degree in early childhood education, you may be eligible for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. The program was created to address the shortage of qualified early childhood educators by encouraging the pursuit of credentials and advancement of already-held degrees in early childhood education, with an aim toward building a strong, well-prepared workforce. If you would like to be connected to someone who can walk you through all the available educational opportunities, consider completing the Higher Education Navigator Interest Form. A Higher Education Navigator from your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency will reach out to you and can help you find and enroll in the college that best meets your needs.


What Professional Development Do You Need: Join the conversation

ESP Community Conversations: Professional Development 

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 7-8:30 p.m. ET., virtual (note: Eastern Time Zone)
Join us for a virtual networking session where you’ll connect with fellow NEA ESP members across the country to discuss your professional development experiences and the resources and support you need for professional growth. Register Here. 
*Open to NEA ESP members only 

ESP Learning Network Webinar: Pensions 101 for Advocates 

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 7-8 p.m. ET., virtual 
This webinar will give you a working knowledge of pensions and access to additional resources so that you can be an effective advocate for pensions and protect our members’ futures. Register Here. 
*Open to all educators


Come Be Apart Of Our TEAM

Nominations for the IEA spring elections close at 4 pm on February 15th. A link to online nominations can be found on the IEA website.

As of February 1st, we have not received any nominations for the following positions:

  • ESP Southern/Central Section Alternate (1-year term)
  • ESP Northern/Central Alternate (2-year term)

We encourage you to get involved and submit a nomination. Your voice is needed at our table. Eligibility information for these positions can be found in the spring all-member mailer and in IEA Board Policies.

If you have any questions, please contact Governance Elections Paraprofessional Kim Trader.


ESP Community Conversations: Professional Development for ESPs

Thursday, February 16, 2023 7:00 PM –  8:30 PM ET

To ensure a great public education for every student, education support professionals (ESPs) want and deserve access to high-quality professional development and support at every stage of their careers. Join us for a 1.5-hour virtual networking session that will connect you with fellow NEA ESP members across the country to discuss your professional development experiences and the resources and support you need for professional growth.


2023 NEA ESP National Conference

Joy, Justice, Excellence: The Strength of Educators. The Brilliance of Students. The Power of Community.

Good news! NEA is now accepting registrations for the 2023 NEA Education Support
Professionals (ESPs) National Conference, scheduled for March 24-26, in Seattle, Washington. Funding may be available at your Illinois Education Region office and union local to help cover expenses.

The ESP Conference is certain to be a special event. With 70+ sessions led by ESPs, NEA
partners and NEA staff, this conference is a premier opportunity for professional leadership,
development, and community. During the conference, we will also honor ESP of the Year
nominees from across the country and announce this year’s NEA ESP of the Year awardee.
Complete ESP Conference information – including the agenda, workshops, link to registration
for self-funded (by self, state, local) attendees, link to reserve a hotel room, health and safety
updates, and more – can be found at www.nea.org/espconference.

Please reach out to Amber Parker (aparker@nea.org) or Jessica Brinkley (jdbrinkley@nea.org) if
you have any questions.


Free Virtual Webinar Especially for Education Support Professionals

Social Emotional Skills for ESPs with 321 InsightThis Social Emotional Skills for ESPs session will be held virtually on Thursday, Feb. 23 from 5-6 p.m.  Presenter Sue Lyons from 321 Insight will host. During this session, IEA ESP members will focus on the five CASEL SEL competencies. ESPs will understand SEL and learn how and why these skills benefit educators and students. Providing ESPs five practical and applicable ways they can support the development of SEL skills in students.

Register here! Please contact Mary Jane Morris with any questions.


ESP Mentoring Training Opportunity

Do you have ideas for advancing ESP leadership and professional excellence?

NEA is offering a special workshop to build strong peer mentoring pilot programs for ESPs. Selected teams of 3-5 ESPs will be funded by NEA to convene in Salt Lake City, Utah!

Over one and a half days, teams will work together to build their own unique programs that empower ESPs in the workplace and Association.



Bring your voice to the table!!

IEA-NEA Spring Election Information

Nominations are now open for the NEA RA State, Retired and Aspiring Educator Delegate elections as well as for sectional representative positions on the IEA Board of Directors and the ESP, Higher Ed and Retired Councils.  Hard copy nominations should be arriving in member mailboxes the first week in January and a link to online nominations is on the IEA website.

Online nominations close at 4 pm on February 15, 2023 and hard copy nominations must also be received by this date.  If you have any questions, contact the Governance Elections/Fair Share Paraprofessional, Kim Trader at kim.trader@ieanea.org.

More 2023 NEA Representative Assembly Information

July 2nd – July 6th

The 2023 NEA Representative Assembly will be held July 2-6, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.

The NEA Representative Assembly is the largest democratic deliberative assembly in the world. During this annual meeting, our members help set policy and chart the direction of NEA business through participation on various committees, constituencies, caucuses, and leadership groups.


You’re Invited!

Join the ESP Council for a virtual roundtable on Jan. 11. New faces welcome! This is a great opportunity to meet IEA executive and NEA director candidates in the upcoming spring election.

Wednesday  |  Jan. 11  |  7 p.m.

This will be a meet and greet format.


2022-24 Strategic Framework Virtual Engagement, January 5th

Happy Holidays and warm wishes for the New Year

I wanted to share the upcoming Virtual Budget Engagement on January 5, 2023, at 8:30pm EST.

Attached, please find the 2022-2024 Strategic Framework. The QR code at the bottom will direct you to the NEA Strategic Framework and Budget site<https://www.nea.org/…/nea-strategic-framework-budget>, where you and your members can view video descriptions of each objective prior to the budget engagement, resulting in more time to collaborate, answer questions, and address concerns.

NEA Budget Engagement
Date: January 5, 2023
Time: 8:30pm ET
Zoom: Please Register

Strategic Questions:

1. If we are wildly successful, what outcomes might we expect to see nationally from NEA pursuing these Objectives?

2. What might progress on these Objectives look like for you, your colleagues, and your students in your local or your worksite?

3. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

In the near future, you will receive a template of the meeting flow.

If you have any members who unfortunately cannot make the date, please remind them that they can always provide input at www.nea.org/budget

We are so excited about this opportunity to engage with our members!


2023 is almost here…it’s the perfect time to reflect on what 2022 has brought

As I sit here and reflect on this past year, I am proud of how I’ve grown, stretched, and have done things I never thought I was capable of doing, but I also realize that I have much to improve. Yes, I want to eat healthier, lose some weight, and exercise more, but I also want to be a better me. I feel best when I’m helping or doing something that helps others. So my goal is to continue to be stretched, to continue to seek situations that may be uncomfortable but will help me grow emotionally, spiritually, and as a leader and advocate.

You all are amazing, and I’m proud to represent so many talented and dedicated people. It’s okay to brag about yourself a little…Tell me somethings you accomplished during this past year that makes you proud…and one goal you have for this next year.

Comment below


Did You Know….?

The Education Support Professional Council and Illinois Education Association collaboratively wrote the language for House Resolution 0077. This resolution called to find solutions to salary parity, quality professional development and access to health benefits for ESP members. In April 2021 the resolution was unanimously passed by the Illinois General Assembly. This laid the foundation on which we are building the rESPect Campaign!


I hope all your wishes came true.

We hope you enjoyed our #12DaysOfUnionism series 🔔🎶 !

At 135,000+ members strong, we are the largest union in Illinois. We harness the collective power of teachers, ESPs, higher education faculty and staff, students and retirees to advocate for strong public schools– because every student deserves a high quality public education no matter where they live.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Enjoy this time with your loved ones.

#MerryChristmas #HappyKwanzaa #HappyHanukkah #IEANEA


12 Days of Unionism

Every year, the IEA advocates for more state funding for higher education, P-12 education and early childhood education.🔔🎶

Your union helped pass the historic evidence-based funding model for our P-12 schools, helping to make our schools more equitably funded instead of relying so heavily on local property taxes. Over the last several years, the Illinois budget has included additional monies for education, totaling over $1.5 billion.

With adequate funding, our schools, colleges and universities can make sure they are providing the best possible public education to all of our students.

Safe travels to those visiting family and loved ones this weekend. Stay warm!


The Educational Support Professional Council Openings

The Education Support Professional currently has openings in the following positions.

  • NORTH/CENTRAL SECTIONAL REP. ALTERNATE (INTERIM) – Members from North Central Regions: 15-25, 37, 38, 40, 44, 49, 51, 53, 54, 60, 61, 63, 65 and 66 can apply to fill
  • SOUTH/CENTRAL SECTIONAL REP. ALTERNATE (INTERIM) – Members from South Central Regions 1-14, 45, 47, 48 and 62 can apply to fill

If you are interested in filling one of these positions on an interim basis until the spring election please reach out to your region chair and have them nominate you at the next IEA Board of Director’s meeting.

Consider running for the IEA Education Support Professional Council in the spring election.

Please review the current ESP Council roster to see the upcoming openings in this spring election. It is extremely important that we have a full roster so ESPs have the representation they deserve at the table. For information, please contact Arlene Criglar at arlene.criglar@ieanea.org .


The 12 Days of Unionism

It pays to be an IEA member.

Benefits include: free term life insurance, additional insurance for disability, long-term care, pet and home, low interest and reward credit cards, NEA auto buying and car rental program as well as hundreds of discounts and coupons on the My Deals app.

IEA’s Opportunity Coalition works to reduce the impact of the opportunity gaps facing students in our community.

We offer leadership development as well as financial & technical support to educators interested in racial, social and educational justice.


12 Days of Unionism

As we have been getting closer to the holiday season it’s been extremely busy and stressful. I know you all can relate!! The truth is I just haven’t been able to keep up with the daily posts, but I don’t want to miss sharing these important reminders so here we are…catching up with days 1-8.

🔔 We have more work to do…please go to www.iearespect.org to see how we can advocate and bring the change we need so members can get the compensation and rESPect they deserve.

🔔 Unionized workers make 20 percent more than nonunion workers. And unions significantly reduce the wage gap for women, people of color and other minority groups.

🔔 In 1983, the IEA worked with the General Assembly to pass the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) which gives Illinois educators the right to organize and collectively bargain.

🔔 Prior to the IELRA, it was ILLEGAL for educators to go on strike. Members would often end up in jail – just for using their voice to advocate for a fair contract.

🔔 Your personal information is protected by law, thanks to the IEA. It is illegal for school districts to provide your private information, even when someone files a FOIA to get it.

🔔 In 2019, the IEA helped pass Senate Bill 1794 into law. The law prohibits employers from disclosing the following information of any employee: home address, DOB, personal phone number and email, union membership status and communications with labor organizations.

🔔 IEA launched the rESPect campaign to improve the economic conditions for Education Support Professionals (ESPs) – nurses, secretaries, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, mechanics, cooks, custodians, library aides and others.

🔔 We are advocating for higher wages, affordable health insurance, a Tier 2 pension fix, and opportunities for growth.

🔔 Have you taken the pledge? Voice your support: bit.ly/IEArespect

🔔 The IEA worked to make sure the right to collectively bargain was added to the Illinois Constitution. Voters passed the Workers’ Rights Amendment this November. It means our right to collectively bargain our wages, pensions, hours, working conditions and so much more are now protected and enshrined in the Illinois Constitution.

🔔 IEA looks out for your quality of life, ensuring your contract provides for work/life balance and good, affordable healthcare.

🔔 In 2022, the IEA passed a law to help support staff and teachers/professors who had exhausted their sick and personal time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The law provided COVID administrative days for all employees to use for any COVID-19 related reason and also offered paycheck protection to hourly employees in the event their school should close.

🔔 Education is the only profession that received COVID administrative days.

🔔 Due to efforts by the NEA, over 360,000 educators and public service workers have received $24 billion in student loan forgiveness through the Limited PSLF Waiver. Working to cancel student debt not only provides relief to current educators, but also makes higher education more accessible for aspiring educators.

🔔 Drafted by the IEA, HB 12 has expanded coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act to thousands of education support professionals (ESPs) across the state.

🔔 Previously, to be eligible for FMLA an employee must have worked 1,250 hours during the previous year. This disqualified many ESPs due to the limited number of days they are able to work during a school year. HB 12 reduces the minimum threshold to 1,000 hours, so that more ESPs can qualify.



Virtual Professional Development: Proactive Behavior Strategies for ESP

Date: January 12th, 2023 Webinar: Free to IEA Members

Presenter: Sue Lyons, 321 Insight Description: As we start the new year, we will continue to be managing some challenging behaviors!

This session will provide strategies for IEA ESP members allowing them to implement the strategies right away to address the challenging behaviors and often preventing them from happening. During this session IEA ESP Members will:

· Gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of many behavior challenges

· Understand the importance of educator mindset to have a positive impact on the overall effectiveness with students

· Learn proactive strategies you can implement right away to prevent many challenging behaviors

Register at: https://forms.gle/FQc79N8ptzdfRCNP9

For more information contact Mary Jane Morris at maryjane.morris@ieanea.org


Education Support Professional Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

Don’t miss these great opportunities.
ESP STAR award: 
Nominate one or more special ESPs for a STAR award! Nominations accepted monthly.

SCORE grants: Grants for up to $1,000 are available for IEA members and their local associations to collaborate and create opportunities for community service or school projects. Apply for a SCORE grant by Jan. 15. Please watch and share SCORE grant recipient Jennifer Finley’s video  about her project that put books and comfort animals into emergency vehicles in her community for kids in traumatic situations.

Athletic grants: California Casualty’s Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant program will award $1,000 grants to school athletics programs. Apply for an athletics grant by Jan. 15.

$2,500 for college: The Burroughs Education Scholarship, sponsored by Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices, will be awarded to a college-bound high school senior with at least one parent who is a school employee. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 31.

NEA State and Local grants: Funded grant requests range from $3,000 to $25,000 and focus on building family/community partnerships or supporting educators across their career continuum to ensure student success. 2022-23 grant program information and application.

Did you get your ESP Insider yesterday?

The ESP Insider is a digital newsletter for Education Support Professional members of the Illinois Education Association. It has important updates, dates, and ESP Celebrations. We definitely deserve some celebrations. If you haven’t received your ESP Insider in your personal email contact IEA Connect at https://ieanea.org/ieaconnect/ for support.

  • Did you know we are bring RESPECT to our members? We need you. Click to find out more.
  • Did you know you have an Education Support Professionals Council that advocates for you? Consider joining our team in this spring IEA election. Nomination forms will be due in mid January. Questions to Arlene.Criglar@ieanea.org.
  • Did you know IEA has been building and creating more and better resources and job related professional development for education support professionals? Go to your Insider for more information.

You will need to log in to Members Only to view using your member ID. Contact IEA Connect for assistance.


Join RESPECT today!

RESPECT | Raising Education Support Professionals by Elevating Careers Together is a statewide effort by support staff in Illinois schools, Pre-K through college, with the support of IEA staff, to improve working conditions. This is a long-term campaign made up of short-term goals. In 2022-23, we hope to:

  • Pass legislation to improve wages and retirement security; including a $20/hour minimum wage.
  • Create a library of model contract language for support staff locals.
  • Organize, organize, organize!

Whether you are a school secretary, paraprofessional, groundskeeper, bus driver, cafeteria worker, librarian, safety personnel, or you provide support to your school/campus in any other way, this campaign is for you.

Sign Up and Make Your Voice Heard!



Welcome!! IEA announced a new organizing victory in Lansing District 158 and welcomed LEFA (Lansing Education Foundation Association), a new ESP local, to the IEA-NEA family! 🥳

Congratulations!! Membership increase in the Sycamore Education Support Staff Association (Region 22): Beginning last winter, more than 40 secretaries, nurses, receptionists, and security assistants campaigned to join their district’s existing support staff local. The local is now roughly 120 members strong and has grown by over 50% in this victorious campaign. *Congratulations, Sycamore Education Support Staff Association! *🥳


2023 ESPs: Supporting Our Own Through Peer Mentoring workshop.

The National Education Association is happy to announce that we are accepting applications from
NEA local and state association teams for the 2023 ESPs: Supporting Our Own Through Peer
Mentoring workshop.

Over one and a half days, teams will work together to build their own unique ESP mentoring pilot
programs that empower ESPs in the workplace and Association. Through peer mentoring, ESPs
can receive the specialized, targeted preparation and support that empower ESPs in the
workplace, advance ESP professional excellence, build ESP leader activists, and create the
education systems that all our students and members deserve.