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ESP Insider News and Updates for January 2022

IEA ESP Council

Check your emails for this month’s ESP Insider for information on:

  • IEA/NEA election information
  • January ESP Star Award Recipients
  • Member Benefits, Grants, and More
  • NEA ESP Conference March 25-27, New Orleans Marriott
  • Other News and Important Events (Don’t miss this information!!)

Stay connected with other ESP members!

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NEA ESP Conference registration is now open!

ESP Conference | NEA

Funding can be requested from your local and regions to offset many of the expenses to attend.

2022 NEA ESP National Conference Education Support Professionals: Uniting for a better future for our students, our educators, and our communities Good news! NEA is now accepting registrations for the 2022 NEA Education Support Professionals (ESPs) National Conference, scheduled for March 25-27, in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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.

The ESP Conference is certain to be a special event, albeit with some changes to help mitigate the risk of COVID exposure. To this end, NEA has established health and safety requirements that must be adhered to by all attending the conference. These requirements will be strictly enforced. It is important that all interested attendees read and understand the NEA COVID-19 requirements and waiver before registering.

Complete ESP Conference information – including the agenda, workshops, link to registration, link to reserve a hotel room, COVID-related requirements, and more – can be found at https://www.nea.org/espconference.

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Pre-Retirement Workshop Webinar Dates for 2022

IMRF
IMRF’s Pre-Retirement Workshops are for IMRF members who are within five years of retirement. They will address the steps you must take before and during the IMRF retirement application process.

Pre-Retirement Workshop webinar dates:

January
Saturday, January 29, 9 – 10 AM
February
Thursday, February 3, noon – 1 PMWednesday, February 16, 5 – 6 PM
March
Wednesday, March 2, 5 – 6 PMThursday, March 31, noon – 1 PM
April
Saturday, April 9, 9 – 10 AMTuesday, April 26, noon – 1 PM

Register today! For more information, or to register for a Pre-Retirement Workshop webinar, click here.
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Gov. Pritzker, Lawmakers, Stakeholders Announce COVID-19 Sick Leave Initiative for Vaccinated School Staff

“Keeping schools open and those inside them – and their families – safe has been our number one priority from the start of the pandemic,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association. “We want people to stay home when they’re sick, to be able to care for their children when their children need them the most, and to be paid when the circumstances that close their buildings are completely beyond their control. This bill protects school and university employees and all those they teach, drive to and from school, feed and care for in so many ways. Health care professionals and scientists have given us a path out of this pandemic and we should follow it.”

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The ESP Council Has Open Positions

IEA-NEA Spring Election Information

Nominations are now open for the NEA RA State, Retired and Student 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 were sent to every member the first week in January and a link to online nominations is on the IEA website.

 Nominations must be received by February 16, 2022.  If you have any questions, contact the Governance Elections/Fair Share Paraprofessional, Kim Trader at kim.trader@ieanea.org.

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Call to Action!

Governor Pritzker currently has House Bill 2778 (The COVID School Employee Wage and Benefit Protection Bill) which provides Covid Administrative Leave Days, on his desk.  He is thinking about whether or not to sign the bill.

This Bill creates COVID administration days for all school employees and paycheck protection for hourly employees.  

We need our members and other friends of public education to send an email to Governor Pritzker asking him to sign this Bill.

Email Gov. Pritzker & tell him to sign HB 2778

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IEA Representatives Assistants Needed

IEA is accepting applications from IEA members to be RA Assistants for the 2022 IEA RA. There are a limited number of assistant positions available for the 2022 IEA RA. RA Assistants will be chosen from these applications on a first come, first serve basis. The deadline for submitting RA Assistant applications is midnight on January 14, 2022. Only non-delegates can be considered for these positions.  If you know anyone who may want to volunteer as an RA Assistant, please have them apply at this weblink: 2022 IEA RA Assistant Application

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Free Virtual Webinar-Deadline approaching for registration

The Eastern Regional Conference STARTS next week, January 12-13th 2022!

Act Now!! Registration will close Monday, January 10, 2022! Don’t miss out!!

The Western Regional conference, held in October 2021, was a big success with over 225 registered participants.  We received excellent feedback including:

“The conference was exceptional and has offered me more opportunities to better serve my kids.

I will be working on my team skills as well as my personal health and abilities. I’m going to try to be a better laugher and use it to brighten the day! I’m going to do my best to create “positive learning experiences” every day with my students. Thank you so much again for all of this valuable information!!”

Please note each conference is held in the region’s time zone and in the evening hours, so not to interfere with the school work days.

  • Eastern NRCP Regional Conference January 12-13, 2022 6:30-9:40 pm ET
  • NOTE: Eastern Leadership Meeting January 11th 4:30-6:30 pm ET
  • Register Here: https://cvent.me/xkDREX
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Save The Date: Selfcare Webinar

January 20th 6:00-7:00 Central Time

Our Bodies: Are We Paying Attention to the Signals?

Our lifestyle, environment, and bodies are trying to tell us something. Mental health and physiological health go hand in hand, and there are many lifelong and recent factors that impact both, including external stressors, toxic systems, habits, and more that have been either activated or exacerbated by the pandemic. In this webinar, we will examine the risk factors and resulting health problems that educators are experiencing, as well as provide strategies to improve personal health and mental well-being.

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Each Day…

I hope you had a restful holiday break. As we return to school, be on the lookout as each day we will have new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our students and colleagues. We will have opportunities to touch hearts, encourage minds, and to lead and inspire. This is an amazing responsibility, but you are just the person to do it.

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HB2778 Passed, but is sitting on Gov. Pritzkers desk!!

The Illinois Senate passed the COVID School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill (HB2778) 53-1 and the House 92-23!

Now, there’s just one more hurdle — getting the governor to sign it! Please take a moment to email Gov. J.B. Pritzker and ask him to sign HB2778 immediately. The law is retroactive to the start of the school year.

Share this link with all of your friends and family. This is just to important to let this fail.
Here’s what it means for you: It requires districts to provide COVID administrative days to any school or college employees abiding by the vaccination or testing orders to be used for all COVID-related absences like quarantining and testing, so employees will not have to use all of their accrued benefit time during the pandemic.Provides paycheck protection for hourly employees. This means if a school or higher education institution has to close because of an emergency, hourly employees would still receive their full paycheck. Members made more than 15,000 calls to their Representatives over the past couple months, urging them to pass the bill and those lawmakers listened. Now we need Gov. Pritzker to sign this in to law.

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A Huge Shout-Out To These Amazing Essential Education Support Professionals

Here is what the nominators had to say about these ESP STARS!

West Aurora Paraprofessional Association – WAPA

 (Pictured L to R): Maria Gallegos (bilingual paraprofessional), Noemi Olivo (bilingual paraprofessional), Joshie Reese (self-contained para), Jessica Mercado (1:1 paraprofessional), Jane Wing (classroom para), Carol Chaney (classroom para), April Andrews (self-contained para), Meghan Hernandez (classroom para), Rebecca Thomas (Title 1 para), Maria Zea (bilingual paraprofessional), Ruth Gonzalez (self-contained para), Hayde Landa (self-contained para), Priscilla Ramirez (classroom para), Jen Capici (classroom para). Not pictured: Rosy Bustamante (bilingual para), Norma Nava (Title 1 para), Monica Recendez (classroom para), Lety Velez (Title 1 para) and Kathie Zaragaoza (building para).
A big shout out to these fabulous ladies from the Early Learning Academy in School District 129 in Aurora and members of the WAPA in IEA Region 40.  They are an awesome group of ladies who have worked hard keeping our kids safe! We love our ELA Paras!

Bloomington ESPs – Region 14

Pictured L to R: ESP Paras Raedean Moritz, Lori Kiley and Theresa Callahan.

Our Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) at Bloomington High School in District 87 offers severe and profound students a bright future. These three ladies are just a fraction of the crew helping students with everyday tasks; box jobs, eating, self-care, reading and math skills. We operate as a family within our school and look forward to seeing our kiddos each and every day!
This awesome crew of the DLP program helps our kids be strong, independent and capable members of our world!

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WEBINAR: Our Bodies: Are We Paying Attention to the Signals?

Thursday, January 20, 2022
7:00–8:30 PM ET
Register: nea.org/esppdwebinars

Our lifestyle, environment, and bodies are trying to tell us something. Mental health and physiological health go hand in hand, and there are many lifelong and recent factors that impact both, including external stressors, toxic systems, habits, and more that have been either activated or exacerbated by the pandemic. In this webinar, we will examine the risk factors and resulting health problems that educators are experiencing, as well as provide strategies to improve personal health and mental well-being.

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Ever wonder what the IEA RA is all about? Volunteer to be a RA Assistant and see first hand.

IEA is accepting applications from IEA members to be RA Assistants for the 2022 IEA RA. There are a limited number of assistant positions available for the 2022 IEA RA. RA Assistants will be chosen from these applications on a first come, first serve basis. The deadline for submitting RA Assistant applications is midnight on January 14, 2022. Only non-delegates can be considered for these positions.

If you know anyone who may want to volunteer as an RA Assistant, please have them apply at this weblink: 2022 IEA RA Assistant Application (This link is also on the IEA Representative Assembly webpage).

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A Heart Touching Story: How One School Bus Driver Is Making A Difference

I saw this post on my school districts parent FB page and just had to share. Jeff Grigoletti is one of the fabulous school bus drivers who works for the Troy 30c School District in Plainfield, Il. This is his post:

(Meanwhile, on this dark and rainy Elementary run this afternoon…)

Students: Mr. Jeff, Emma is crying!

Me: Dispatch, pulling over for a sec. (Pulls overs and walks to student and kneels next to crying student)

Me: What’s wrong Emma?

Emma: It’s too dark in here!

Me: Okay. (Turns on interior lights and starts driving again)

Me: Better?

Emma: Yes

Students: Mr. Jeff, William is crying!

Me: Dispatch, pulling over … again. (Pulls over walks to and kneels next to sobbing student)

Me: What’s up William?

William: You’re driving ….through big puddles …and it’s too loud!

Me: Seriously? Okay, here’s what we’ll do. When I’m coming up to a big puddle, I’ll yell ‘PUDDLE’ and you put your fingers in your ear. Then look at me and I’ll give you a thumbs up when we are past the puddle. Okay buddy?

It was a long ride……

Jeff’s act of kindness is just one example of how important ESPs are for our students to receive the quality education they deserve and how classroom teachers and communities get the support they need. If you know of an ESP that deserves recognition for the amazing things they do please nominate them for the IEA ESP Star Award. Click the link below for more information. Nominate an ESP in your local for the ESP Star Award today.

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Apply for funding to attend these amazing conferences

Request for Funding applications are being accepted for the following conferences. 

·       2022 NEA Leadership Summit – due Dec. 17 – TBD

·       2022 NEA ESP Conference – due Dec. 17 – New Orleans, LA

The applications are also available on Members Only under EVENTS/Funding. Applications can either be mailed to the attention of Kathi Griffin, President of IEA, 100 E. Edwards St., Springfield, IL 62704 or emailed to Courtney Gillespie. Any questions regarding funding for the conferences can be directed to Courtney Gillespie.

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Everyone Needs To Feel Connected

Education Support Professionals have a unique opportunity to build connections with students based on relationships and not grades. According to the CDC (Adolesent and School Health) Students who feel connected in their schools are less likely to engage in risky behavior and do better academically.
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Avoid the Burnout: How Taking Care of You is the First Step in Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student


It’s that time of year where schedules are accelerated as the holidays approach. We have another ESP webinar happening soon. This presentation is open to all.

Self-care isn’t one size fits all. Many of us are struggling to balance life with the challenges of being good at our jobs and being a responsible caregiver to children and other family members, all while doing important union work to support our school communities.

If you are feeling depleted and exhausted by work and life stressors, join us on Thursday, December 9, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EST for a webinar to learn how to take better care of you! During this webinar, we will cover different self-care strategies to help education support professionals and other educators overcome the chronic stress that they are currently feeling. Learn how to balance demands, how to make time for yourself, and how to practice mindfulness to avoid burnout and continue meeting the needs of your students.

Register today at nea.org/esppdwebinars.

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Happy Thanksgiving from our homes to yours!

As you begin this festive time of year the ESP Council wants to wish you a safe and healthy Thanksgiving Day and holiday season. If you are traveling… please be careful. If you are staying home, may your home be filled with laughter.

No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like, we wish you peace, joy, and above all love.

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Avoid the Burnout: How Taking Care of You is the First Step in Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student

It’s that time of year where schedules are accelerated as the holidays approach. We have another great ESP webinar happening soon. This presentation is open to all.

Self-care isn’t one size fits all. Many of us struggle to balance life with the challenges of being good at our jobs and being responsible caregivers to children and other family members, all while doing important union work to support our school communities.

If you feel depleted and exhausted by work and life stressors, join us on Thursday, December 9, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EST for a webinar to learn how to take better care of yourself! During this webinar, we will cover different self-care strategies to help education support professionals and other educators overcome the chronic stress that they are currently feeling. Learn how to balance demands, make time for yourself, and practice mindfulness to avoid burnout and continue meeting the needs of your students.

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It’s never to early or late to prepare for retirement! But I wish I would have started this sooner!!

How IMRF Credits VAC Interest

VAC interest is credited differently from a traditional savings account:

  • A traditional savings account credits interest on the current amount in the account.
  • IMRF credits interest annually, at the end of the year based on the previous January 1 balance. That means:
    • You will not earn any interest the first year you begin making Voluntary Additional Contributions.
    • If you withdraw your contributions at any time during a year, you will not receive any interest on the contributions you withdraw. Contributions must stay in your account for you to receive interest on them. However, you would receive interest on any previously earned interest that remains in your account.
  • The current rate of interest is 7.25%. This rate may change in the future. If it does, IMRF may not directly notify you.
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Oops!! Two ESP Webinar Opportunities This Thursday!

Okay….this is tough but amazing also!! Please join one of these amazing ESP advocacy opportunities.

ESP Learning Network webinars

  • Advocacy | Thur., Nov. 18, 6-7:30 p.m. (CST): Using advocacy to address contemporary issues facing ESPs.
    • Hear a panel of UniServ from across the nation who will discuss how to advocate for education support professionals (ESPs) and address the issues affecting them in today’s school climate. What are the challenges ESPs face today, and what are the opportunities for ESPs tomorrow? How have pressing issues like COVID, staff shortages, and radicalized parents impacted the way we advocate? And in the future, how will demands for higher compensation and better professional development reshape the ESP world?
  • ESP Leaders and Local President Empowerment Roundtable Thurs., Nov. 18, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Download flier with Zoom link.
    • Please join us for our 2nd roundtable of the 2021-2022 school year! This roundtable will be an open forum to hear from you on the issues/concerns ESPs are facing in your locals with ESP Council members and for the council to share updates on what they have been working on to advocate for ESPs! If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Arlene Criglar at Arlene.criglar@ieanea.org.
1,522 Webinars Stock Photos, Webinars Images | Depositphotos®
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Conference Scholarship Applications

Don’t let cost stop you from experiencing these great learning opportunities!! Apply today!!!

Applications are being accepted for the following conferences:

The applications are available on Members Only under EVENTS/Funding.

Applications can either be mailed to the attention of Kathi Griffin, President of IEA, 100 East Edwards Street, Springfield, IL, 62704 or emailed to Courtney Gillespie

Any questions regarding funding for the conferences can be directed to Courtney Gillespie.

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We need your voice at next years IEA Representative Assembly

What is the Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly? The IEA RA convenes every spring where members from across the state come together, brings forth new business items (NBI’s), debate topics, that leads and directs the direction of our organization, and so much more.

Education Support Professionals are essential to the success of our students, and districts. Your voices are essential to help lead our organization and support ESP initiatives. Members who are voted to attend have their expenses paid for by their local/region. Every IEA region office has funds specifically marked for ESPs to attend the RA. Your voice is important!! We need you!!

Have you turned in your nomination form to attend next years representative assembly? If not ask your local leader for a nomination form and more information. You can also contact your local IEA region office for more information. Nomination forms must be turned in soon for your name to make the ballot so don’t wait.

2022 IEA Representative Assembly
April 7-9, 2022
Hyatt Regency O’Hare
Rosemont, IL

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Education Support Professionals Day

November 17, 2021 – ESP Day

Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day is November 17, 2021! Join us to celebrate and advocate for the amazing school support staff who continue to go above and beyond for our school communities.

We must elevate the important work ESPs do for our school communities and advocate for their professional respect. This includes advocating for better pay and benefits, providing access to more training, protecting jobs, and building back better to strengthen public education for all.

Graphic that says "Happy Education Support Professionals Day" and "#WeLoveOurESPs"

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HB2778 Passed!

Congratulations! You did it!

The Illinois Senate passed the COVID School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill (HB2778) 53-1 and the House 92-23!

Here’s what it means for you:It requires districts to provide COVID administrative days to any school or college employees abiding by the vaccination or testing orders to be used for all COVID-related absences like quarantining and testing, so employees will not have to use all of their accrued benefit time during the pandemic.Provides paycheck protection for hourly employees. This means if a school or higher education institution has to close because of an emergency, hourly employees would still receive their full paycheck.Members made more than 1,600 calls to their Representatives over the past few days, urging them to pass the bill and those lawmakers listened.

Now, there’s just one more hurdle — getting the governor to sign it! Please take a moment to email Gov. J.B. Pritzker and ask him to sign HB2778 immediately. The law is retroactive to the start of the school year.
Take Action
 Thank you for all you do every day on behalf of students in Illinois. And, thank you for taking the time urge the governor to sign this bill into law on behalf of your fellow educators and education employees across the state of Illinois.

Great job!
 
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Great Professional Development Opportunity for ESPs

Education Support Professionals
Micro-Credential PLC: ESP Cultural Competency

IEA, in partnership with NEA, is offering our IEA Education Support Professionals (ESPs) an opportunity to participate, AT NO COST, in a virtual Professional Learning Community (PLC) to support successful completion of a NEA ESP Micro-Credential. Developed specifically for and by ESPs and supported by IEA and NEA. Connect with and get support from ESP colleagues as you learn
about and apply cultural competence in your daily work with students, families, community members, co-workers, supervisors, administrators, and others in yourschool community.

-One-hour virtual weekly PLC meetings guided by a trained
facilitator

What’s involved?

  • Tuesdays from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. CST
    -Beginning November 2nd ——- Ending on December 21st
    -Cost is FREE to IEA ESP Members!
    -Commit up to 1 hour per week of time on your own time to
    complete related tasks
  • IEA ESP Members will receive a $240.00 stipend fortheirfull
    participation includes: attendance and submission of CCMC
    -Pursue andearnanESP Cultural Competency Micro-Credential

Click for more information:

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Your Voice Matters! Contact Your Representative Today!

We are fighting to pass the COVID School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill (House Bill 2778) in the Illinois legislature and we need your help calling our state representatives now and telling them to vote in favor of our bill. We only have three days to do it –
during veto session Oct. 26-28.
 
The COVID School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill:Requires districts provide COVID administrative days to any school or college employees to be used for all COVID related absences like quarantining and testing;Provides paycheck protection for hourly employees. This means if you’re an hourly employee and your school or higher education institution has to close due to any COVID-related reason, you would still receive your full paycheck.To Take Action, click the button to complete a short form and then receive a call from E.A. Advocacy to connect to your state representative. It’s that simple!
Take Action
 Here’s a sample script for you to use when you are connected to your State Representative’s office:My name is YOUR NAME. I am an educator in YOUR CITY. I support House Bill 2778, the COVID School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill. I encourage you to pass this legislation to protect the benefits and rights of all hard-working school employees.Vote “Aye”, and help us pass the bill over to the Senate;Co-sponsor the bill;Speak in favor of the bill during debate.
Thank you for helping get HB 2778 passed!