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Bargaining and Advocacy in the Face of Crisis

The May webinar offers a learning opportunity for those who engage for ESP in bargaining or meet and confer. As we deal with the COVID crisis and its aftermath on the livelihood of our ESP, you will find this webinar useful. This webinar may be shared with general membership.

Bargaining and Advocacy in the Face of Crisis

May 13, 2021
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become the worst crisis we have ever faced in our lifetime. ESPs, students, and communities have been hit with staggering issues, many that were unthinkable before. Now, more than ever, ESPs have been forced to bargain and advocate as if their lives, and those of which they care for, depend on it, because it literally may.

This webinar will focus on becoming better prepared as a union to tackle issues brought upon through crisis, such as protecting ESP careers and advocating for health and safety issues, as well as providing practical skills and resources that can make the union more effective advocates. This session was offered at the 2021 NEA ESP National Conference.

Register >

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Unfortunate Update from Legal Services and Government Relations:

A number of local leaders and field staff have asked IEA Legal Services and IEA Government Relations whether the expansion in unemployment benefit eligibility, which allowed many ESPs to qualify for IDES benefits during summer 2020, will be in place for summer 2021.  The answer, unfortunately, is “no”. The change in unemployment benefit eligibility was temporary in nature and expired on December 31, 2020.  Should the Illinois General Assembly take any action that impacts unemployment benefit eligibility for summer 2021, we will provide notice of the changes in a subsequent update.

If this information changes we will notify you ASAP.

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Tomorrow-April’s ESP Roundtable Discussion

Time: April 24, 2021 10:00 – 11:30 am, Central Time (US and Canada)

Attention all Education Support Professionals (“ESP”):

You are invited to attend the IEA ESP Council’s April roundtable where the discussion will be facilitated by the IEA ESP Council. The discussion will be regarding the IEA Representative Assembly and NEA ESP Conference – what we learned, what we know, and where do we go from here?

Please join us as we learn, discover, and advocate for ESP throughout Illinois. Your ESP Council is here to support you during this trying time and beyond. If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit http://www.ieaespcouncil.com.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86524880743?pwd=L09ndjRYaTB1d3FsL05JMHZMTks3UT09

Meeting ID: 865 2488 0743 Passcode: 492551 One tap mobile +13126266799,,86524880743#,,,,*492551# US (Chicago) +16465588656,,86524880743#,,,,*492551# US (New York)

Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 865 2488 0743 Passcode: 492551 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbkoEdS0qN

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Become an IEA member today and not pay dues till September

Did You Know?

IEA/NEA HAS AN EARLY ENROLLMENT CAMPAIGN: THEORY OF CHANGE

The Early Enrollment Membership Program is offered to support spring or summer membership organizing efforts by inviting First-Time Active members and Aspiring Educators to experience the transformative impact of being part of the Association for no immediate cost. Between April 1 – August 31 educators can join without paying dues until the new school year starts.

First-time Active or new Aspiring Educator recruits will become members effective September 1 and receive immediate access to NEA Educators Employment Liability Program coverage (liability insurance) and NEA Member Benefits programs.

A. Powerful Incentive: 

1. No Cost. Between April 1 and August 31, 2021

2. Limited Eligibility. Early enrollment is limited to recruits for the 2021-22 membership year who are either: 

a. First-time Active member beginning September 1, 2021 or 

b. New NEA Aspiring Educator(Student) Program recruits 

B. Additional Benefits Early enrollees have access to an array of NEA Member Benefits programs. For a comprehensive look at all the programs and services NEA Member Benefits offers early enrollees, visit www.neamb.com/earlyenrollee.

C. Start Date for Benefits Access to NEA EEL Program benefits will begin no earlier than April 1, 2021.

Important Note: Before early enrollees will be granted access to qualified NEA Member Benefits programs, the state affiliate must first process the early enrollment forms and add new enrollees to the affiliate membership database. 
For more information on IEA/NEA Early Enrollment Campaign, visit https://www.nea.org/resource-library/early-enrollment-campaign

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Great ESP Council Meeting Yesterday!!

Yesterday I was blessed to spend my morning…early afternoon with amazing ESP advocates! The ESP Council had our April meeting where we organized and planned for ESPs around the state.

Topics discussed:

  • One Conference Planning-we are still looking for presenters/topics. October 1-2nd virtual conference. Please fill out an RFP to present at this years virtual conference. The deadline to submit is April 30th. Click here for more information.
  • ESP Resolution -HR77-Sponsored by Rep Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz passed unanimously out of committee. Waiting for vote on the house floor. Resolution seeking to find solutions to salary parity, quality professional development and access to health benefits for ESP members
  • ESP FMLA-Has moved out of the House, and will head to the Illinois Senate.
  • ESP Dues Discussion-IEA executive board has created a new sub-committee, Bylaw Article 3 Section 3. Myself and Tammy F also on the ESP Council, has applied and have great hopes to be on this committee to advocate for a by-laws change on how ESP dues are calculated.
  • Star Award-We have had 11 fabulous ESPs nominated since February. Nominate a deserving ESP in your local. Click here for more information.
  • Future ESP Council dates are set. August 21t 2021, November 13th 2021, February 26th 2022, April 23rd 2022, June 11th 2022
  • Don’t miss our next Roundtable discussion April 24th 10-11:30am. Topic-IEA RA, NEA ESP Conference, NEA Leadership Summit Wrap up.
  • Planning ahead to our May Roundtable celebration

Click to download for information on how to join our next roundtable discussion.

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Today, A New Challenge….I mean Opportunity

I’m sure you all are pretty much in the same situation. It seems like everyday is a new challenge….I mean opportunity. Every year we have challenges, students who struggle academically or emotionally. Families struggling to provide a safe and secure home environment. This year with Covid-19, I’ve seen more challenges and yet more opportunities than ever for educators to make a difference in the lives of our school community. ESPs are doing what we have always done, stepping up, reaching out, and filling the needs that are all around us.

It would be very easy for me to be pulled in to a mindset of bitterness and frustration! Today and everyday I choose my mindset. Like we teach our students, mindset is key to success.

Thank you for what you do everyday in the lives of your students, members, and communities!

Jill Scarcelli IEA ESP Council Chair

Top tips to create a positive mindset and help you unwind - 2i Recruit
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We are looking for trainers and topics for our next One Conference

One Conference | Illinois Education Association
Click Here For More Information

The One Conference is a fabulous IEA conference that is planned with ESPs in mind, to enhance leadership skills and designed to provide professional and personal growth. IEA and your ESP leadership work together to plan this high quality conference. Many of the trainers are ESP leaders who have a passion and talent to support their students and fellow ESPs. Maybe you could be one of our next trainers at this years One Conference. 

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April’s ESP Empowerment Roundtable

Time: April 24, 2021 10:00 – 11:30 am, Central Time (US and Canada)

Attention all Education Support Professionals (“ESP”):

You are invited to attend the IEA ESP Council’s April roundtable where the discussion will be facilitated by the IEA ESP Council. The discussion will be regarding the IEA Representative Assembly and NEA ESP Conference – what we learned, what we know, and where do we go from here?

Please join us as we learn, discover, and advocate for ESP throughout Illinois. Your ESP Council is here to support you during this trying time and beyond. If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit http://www.ieaespcouncil.com.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86524880743?pwd=L09ndjRYaTB1d3FsL05JMHZMTks3UT09

Meeting ID: 865 2488 0743 Passcode: 492551 One tap mobile +13126266799,,86524880743#,,,,*492551# US (Chicago) +16465588656,,86524880743#,,,,*492551# US (New York)

Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 865 2488 0743 Passcode: 492551 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbkoEdS0qN

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RSVP to Meet Miguel Cardona (Virtually)

NEA President Becky Pringle will sit down (virtually) with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to discuss his experience in public schools, his vision for learning, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for our public schools and institutions of higher learning.

Miguel Cardona and Becky Pringle In Conversation

You are invited hear directly from President Joe Biden’s new secretary of education about the important issues facing students and educators coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What: A Conversation with Miguel Cardona
When: Wednesday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. PT

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Supporting Our Own through ESP Mentoring: Lessons from the Field

April 15, 2021
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST

Education Support Professionals (ESPs) are an integral part of the education team that supports student learning. When ESPs are hired, they are often left alone to “figure out” what their job entails. This leads to poor job satisfaction, high turnover, and weaker performance. When ESP mentoring is done right, it can lead to improved outcomes for students, greater retention of ESPs, higher job satisfaction, greater confidence, and leadership development.

This session will explore ESP mentoring and how to justify the importance of mentoring to the district, build the program from the bottom up, and document the success of the program through data collection and analysis. Participants will receive information and materials they can bring back to their locals that can be customized to meet their needs. ESP mentoring uses the ESP Professional Growth Continuum (PGC) as its foundation, providing a vision for each ESP career family as ESPs develop their professional learning goals.

Presenters:
Tara Gauding, Vermont-NEA
Stephanie Dupras, Vermont-NEA
Gloria Mantagaris, Vermont-NEA

Register >

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Legislative Update: HR 77

IEA GR Director Sean Denney provided updates on two IEA backed bills in this week’s legislative update:

 House Bill 2789 passed out of committee. This is the COVID safety bill.

 House Resolution 77 passed unanimously out of committee. This calls for equity for ESPs.

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We are looking for trainers and topics for our next One Conference

2021 IEA One Conference – October 1-2, 2021 (Virtual)

The One Conference is a fabulous IEA conference that is planned with ESPs in mind, to enhance leadership skills and designed to provide professional and personal growth. IEA and your ESP leadership work together to plan this high quality conference. Many of the trainers are ESP leaders who have a passion and talent to support their students and fellow ESPs. Maybe you could be one of our next trainers at this years One Conference. Example of past sessions have been on topics such as, Self Care: Yoga or Communication Strategies for ESPs. If you would like to present at this years ESP Conference please fill out and submit an RFP, the link is below. The deadline to submit is April 30,2021.

What sessions would you like to see at this year’s One Conference?

Please comment below or email me at Jill.Scarcelli@ieanea.org with your suggestions. This will help in our planning process.

October 1-2, 2021
Virtual

One Conference RFP form is now available!
The 2021 One Conference will be a virtual event scheduled for October 1-2, 2021. If you are interested in presenting a session this year, please complete the One Conference RFP no later than April 30, 2021!

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Registration is open for the 20th annual Closing the Gap Conference. 

Teaching and Learning

The conference will be held virtually on April 20-21, 2021.  The Southern Illinois PreK-20 Education Alliance proudly presents an innovative opportunity to address educator self-care, self-awareness and emotional well-being strategies for ALL educators. Due to the isolation and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, many of our educators and students have been traumatized. By providing insight, tools and strategies for our educators, this will go a long way in benefiting our educators and the students they teach.  Breakout sessions will target topics such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), building resilience, building community from within, stress levels on the body, self-regulation, stress responses, self-care tips and strategies, and educator support sessions.  Click here for more information and to register.

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The One Conference Is Being Planned And We Need You

What is the One Conference?

The One Conference is a fabulous IEA conference that is planned with ESPs in mind, to enhance leadership skills and designed to provide professional and personal growth. IEA and your ESP leadership work together to plan this high quality conference. Many of the trainers are ESP leaders who have a passion and talent to support their students and fellow ESPs. Maybe you could be one of our next trainers at this years One Conference. Example of past sessions have been on topics such as, Self Care: Yoga or Communication Strategies for ESPs. If you would like to present at this years ESP Conference please fill out and submit and RFP, the link is below. The deadline to submit is April 30,2021.

What sessions would you like to see at this year’s One Conference?

Please comment below or email me at Jill.Scarcelli@ieanea.org with your suggestions. This will help in our planning process.

October 1-2, 2021
Virtual

One Conference RFP form is now available!
The 2021 One Conference will be a virtual event scheduled for October 1-2, 2021. If you are interested in presenting a session this year, please complete the One Conference RFP no later than April 30, 2021!

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NEA ESP Conference 2021

Night One of the NEA ESP Conference was a fabulous success. Stop back to see more pictures and conference updates. Who’s READY for day two!!

Day two was a success, from the energizing Zumba class this morning to the NCESP meeting late this afternoon. I’m updating this at nearly 10pm because I have to admit I took a LONG power nap this evening. LOL!!! Love my ESP family!!

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Kahoot! EDU Meetup

Register for the Kahoot! EDU Meetup: Spring edition on March 17

Make hybrid learning awesome!

Join us on March 17 for our FREE virtual PD event! Learn about new, exciting Kahoot! features and products, and hear from our ambassadors on the best practices of making learning awesome in a hybrid environment.

Date and time: March 17, 2021 (Check the attached schedule for various session times)

Register today

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Student Debt Relief-ESPs this is for you also!!

Do you have student loan debt for yourself or your kids? Register to find out more about federal student loan debt forgiveness!! I’m registering today to learn more!!

Educators should be able to pursue their passion without fear of student debt.  This challenge is not exclusive to teachers, but includes our Education Support Professionals as well. And for ESP, the problem is compounded by earnings even lower than teachers. Student debt—plus stagnant wages—means a career in public education is unaffordable for too many Americans.   

Everyone who wants to learn and grow should be able to afford to do so—without exceptions. That is why NEA is working with members, staff, and supporters to achieve immediate and broad cancellation of federal student loan debt. Invite your members and Affiliates to join experts as they share the tools and strategies we are utilizing to make student debt cancellation a reality for us all. 

The webinar will take place at two times: 4pm ET and 7pm ET on March 18. People can RSVP for whichever time works best for them. Everyone is invited to attend our webinars. Anyone interested can RSVP here. 

We also will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” with NEA experts on Twitter after our second webinar. Anyone can ask a question by messaging #NEACancelsStudentDebt 8 p.m. ET – 9 p.m. on March 18

Education must be affordable and accessible to all. Yet for too many of us, the higher education costs to become educators has meant years and even decades of student debt. This system is working for the student loan providers and banks, but not for us. It is time to cancel our student debt. 

Just last year, NEA experts worked with members to obtain over $1 million in forgiveness and put even more on the path to forgiveness. Tune-in to find out how you can join that group and how we can join together to fight for student debt relief for all of us. 

<RSVP for the March 18 Webinar> 

No one should have to choose between paying for basic living expenses or their education.  Together, we will rewrite the rules to make this a country a place where everyone can prosper. 

In solidarity, 

The NEA Student Debt Team 

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An Excellent Article From NEA-Education Support Professionals

4 reasons to put Education Support Professionals at the center of your school’s family engagement strategy

For ten years, I had the privilege to have a choice to take off work and stay home to help raise my three children.

During those years, I was active in their elementary school… volunteering to pop popcorn, help with school events, and serve on the school’s parent advisory committee.

When I went back to work, I was nervous. I knew I wouldn’t be around as much, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to casually check in and see how the kids were doing. So, I reached out to the person I knew best at the school… the daytime custodian, Darlene. Darlene and I had cleaned up together after a couple of events and forged a friendship over spider plant cuttings. 

I’ll never forget what I said to her: 

Me: “Darlene, you gotta keep an eye on my kids.”
Darlene: “I will. Especially Benjamin. You’ve got your hands full with that one.”

Her response caught me off guard, but she was right. That’s because Darlene knew Benjamin even better than many of his teachers.  She saw Benjamin outside of the classroom, in more informal settings, running late in the hallway, cutting up in the lunchroom, and playing by himself at recess. Darlene knew that Benjamin needed just a bit of extra attention and that extra set of eyes.

Educational Support Professionals, or ESPs, like Darlene play an essential role in the day-to-day work of schools. ESPs are the nurses, food service employees, custodians, paraeducators, bus drivers, secretaries, and security staff, who work to keep kids safe, fed, and ready to learn.

All of these things are critically important. Yet, we often tend to overlook another important function of ESPs: the unique role they play in welcoming, building trust and engaging families.

Here are four reasons why you should focus on supporting your front-line support staff —

#1ESPs are often the first members of the school staff that parents meet.
The secretary who helps with enrollment, the bus driver who contacts parents with the location of the bus stop, the nurse calling for vaccination forms. Each of these interactions form the first impressions families have of your school or district. When ESPs are welcoming and respectful, it sets the tone for a family’s entire school experience.

#2ESPs often interact more with parents.ESPs are the ones who see your parents the most… in the pick-up line, in the lunchroom, walking down the hallway. This creates more opportunities to get to know those parents and each one of these opportunities helps build strong relationships. Those relationships help parents feel a part of the school and that can help with engagement.

#3ESPs are often more approachable.
Conversations with teachers and principals can be intimidating for parents. Think about a conference at a big table or a formal meeting in front of a desk. Parents often view teachers and principals as authority figures. On the other hand, interactions between ESPs and parents tend to be more casual and friendly. It’s easier for ESPs to get to know families and easier for families to get comfortable enough to share information with ESPs. 

And that brings me to my final point…

#4ESPs can serve as powerful communication highways.
ESPs know the families in your school. They know their struggles, their successes, and their worries. ESPs can help you better understand what’s going on in the lives of your families and work with you if you need to wrap supports around students. ESPs also know how your school works. They know your acronyms, your big words, and your processes. They can answer questions and welcome families into the learning in an approachable, non-judgement way. Above all, ESPs have the relationships to help your staff and parents understand each other and that’s where meaningful family engagement happens.

These days, my son Benjamin is in college and doing quite well. Truthfully, I have trouble remembering all of Benjamin’s teachers, but I will never forget Darlene. For me, Darlene was more than an educational support professional, she was my support professional. It may not have been part of her “official ESP job description,” but knowing she was there, in the building, every day…keeping an eye on things…made all the difference for this nervous mommy.

If you’re an ESP, or you’re looking for ways to empower your ESPs and improve family engagement this year, don’t miss my sessions at the NEA ESP Conference March 19-21. For more ideas about how to build trust with and engage families, visit my website and download my free Playbook for Clear, Effective & Meaningful School Communication

.Patricia Weinzapfel

Patricia Weinzapfel

Author, Educator, Journalist & K12 Communications Expert

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Do you or you children have college students loans?

Do you have federal student loans?
Do have federal Parent PLUS loans?
Do you have family or friends burdened with student loan debt?

If you answered, “Yes!” to any of the above then Degrees Not Debt is for you!  The National Education Association recognizes the burden student loans debt is putting on public educators and developed a campaign called “Degrees Not Debt.” This campaign is intended to inform student loan borrowers of their rights and options in the repayment process.  Many borrowers are unaware of their eligibility for programs that can make their monthly payment affordable and provide loan forgiveness.

What is Degrees Not Debt and how does it work?

This really works. I currently have two of my kids university expenses and in the fall my third child will be added to the loan forgiveness process!! As an ESP on a limited income this is one of the biggest financial benefits I have received while working in public education.

Jill Scarcelli IEA ESP Council Chair

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NEA Representative Assembly

2021 Virtual NEA Representative Assembly

*The TENTATIVE dates for the NEA RA this year are June 30 – July 3. We will keep you posted of any date change.

ESPs, this is your call to have your voice heard. Typically only about 4% of delegates who attend the NEA RA are Education Support Professionals. This needs to change!! We need you and your voice. Over 8,000 NEA members are expected to attend virtually the next Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly from June 30-July 3. While there, RA delegates will propose, debate, and take action on new business items for the Association and other association policies, and vote by secret ballot on proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws. Executive officers, Executive Committee members, and at-large members of the NEA Board of Directors will be elected. More information available at ra.nea.org.

*NEA President Becky Pringle released a memo explaining the decision to hold the 2021 NEA RA virtually. The memo can be read here.

*As the delegate process for the NEA RA will begin soon, please remember the importance of sending as many delegates as possible so the IEA voice is heard at the NEA RA. 

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NEA Monthly Resources

YOUR WORK 
Responding to the CDC Guidance on Safe In-Person Learning.
In February, the CDC released an operational strategy guide for the safe delivery of in-person instruction at K-12 schools. The guidance calls for “layering” five mitigation strategies that are essential to safe delivery of in-person instruction. To make this guidance possible, our schools will need the resources to implement them. That is why we are asking Congress to step up and provide the funding that our students, educators, and families need.
Add Your Voice 
YOUR CAREER 
New Podcast Episode: Educating Students With Special Needs in a Pandemi‪c‬
April Burch is a paraprofessional currently working in clerical services and a co-founder of Cooking Autism, a nonprofit that helps educators offer life skills programs to children with special needs. As a mother to two sons with special needs herself, she has had the experience of educating both students and children with special needs during the pandemic. She joined the SchoolMe podcast to share her story.
Listen Here
HAPPY #READACROSSAMERICA DAY!
When we read books that have characters of all races, genders, and backgrounds, students discover their own voices and learn from the voices of others.
SEE HOW WE’RE CELEBRATING
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2021 NEA ESP National Conference

NEA ESP conference

Registration for the 2021 NEA ESP National Conference is now open!

The NEA ESP National Conference is the premier professional development opportunity for education support professionals across the nation. The 2021 conference will be held virtually March 19-21, with a special ESP of the Year celebration on Friday, March 26. Get ready to connect, collaborate, and engage in some of the most important topics affecting our school communities today, from racial and social justice, to trauma, social and emotional learning, leadership, organizing, and more! Check out the conference schedule, featured speakers, and workshop sessions at nea.org/espconference.

Registration for conference is open from February 15-26, and is FREE of charge to NEA members. Space is limited, so spread the word and reserve your spot today!

Register now >

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Summer Leadership Academy

The 2021 Summer Leadership Academy will be a virtual event held over 2 weeks – July 19-22 & July 26-29. Due to the PD sessions not being held at this year’s IEA RA, we plan to add additional PD sessions during the 2021 SLA. 

Summer Leadership Academy RFP form is now online!

If you have an expertise or activity you think other ESPs/members would enjoy and benefit from and are interested in presenting it as a school or elective, please complete the SLA RFP form no later than March 24.

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NEA Representative Assembly (Virtual)

June 30 – July 3, 2021 (Tentative)

ESP’s we need you! Your voice is important!

Over 8,000 NEA members are expected to attend virtually the next Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly from June 30-July 3. While there RA delegates will propose, debate, and take action on new business items for the Association and other association policies, and vote by secret ballot on proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws. Executive officers, Executive Committee members, and at-large members of the NEA Board of Directors will be elected.

More information available at ra.nea.org.