ESP Unemployment Paperwork Support

We are extremely thankful that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2643! But what now? Here are some links and supports from a fabulous ESP President Amy Evans who has struggled through the red tape to apply for this benefit. See below the resources she has provided.

Good afternoon All-

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed House Bill 2643, the legislation that extends unemployment insurance for non-instructional school employees until Sept. 4. It goes into effect immediately. I have been in contact with IEA and unemployment this morning to make sure I have as much information I can regarding this new piece of legislation to pass on.

The legislation allows non instructional, research or primarily administrative employees of educational employers are eligible to receive unemployment compensation during periods between academic terms or seasonal breaks, even if they have a “reasonable assurance” of returning to work in the next academic year.

Important points to know:
1.  This legislation does not apply to teachers. It ONLY applies to Non-Instructional staff.

2. While we realize there will be questions about eligibility, Canton Education Association CANNOT advise on how to complete forms for IDES. IEA has provided resource links (also linked below). This includes options to “click” within the application process. The information sheet has the suggestions for this.

A. Non-instructional school employees information sheet

 B. Claim process form

C. Before filing a claim, watch this 9-minute video

Here are some steps you may have to take to receive your unemployment benefit.

  1. File as listed above.
  2. You should receive a letter of UI Finding. This document will have your benefit amount along with your certifying date.
  3. You may also receive an Academic Personnel Questionnaire. Fill this out and send it in by the requested date.

**It is recommended by unemployment to upload this document onto the IDES website** Submit your Document here – IDES (illinois.gov)

  1. If you don’t receive your funds in 3-5 business days after certifying, call unemployment to get into the call-back que as soon as possible.
  2. In the meantime, you may receive a Claimant Notice of Possible Ineligibility. More than likely your benefit is on suspension due to having a return to work date submitted by the district to IDES. The district is not doing anything malicious to keep employees from receiving these benefits. After an employee certifies, the district is sent a document asking if employee A, B and C have reasonable assurance and have a return to work date. The district honestly answers yes. Once they do that, it immediately suspends the benefit.
  3. Once you receive a call-back, explain that you are a non-instructional school employee. IDES will check to see if you have all of your documents turned in.
  4. During this call they may transfer to an adjudicator. This person will release the suspension if all the proper documentation is submitted. If IDES is not able to transfer you at that time to the adjudicator, they will call you back.
  5. Once the adjudicator lifts the suspension, you should receive your benefit within 3-5 business days.
  6. During this process please remember to certify on your scheduled date. It is important to do this even if you are going through he adjudication process. If you do not certify the process will have to start from the beginning.

IDES would also like to share that there is a lot of fraud going on right now by email and text messages. IDES assured me that they will never send any correspondence that requires you to click a link. They will instruct you to go directly to the IDES website.  PLEASE! DO NOT clink on any links. If you have done so, contact IDES immediately. They will help you to correct this matter.

Keep in mind this is a problem within the system, not with the people at IDES.


SEL Strategies from a Culture and Climate Coach

How to help students, educators and families cope as schools return to in-person learning.

  1. Allowing students to identify their feelings helps them manage difficult emotions.
  2. Educators need ways to manage their own stress if they are to help students manage theirs.
  3. Funding for community support of mental health and SEL are needed.

Gina Harris is one of four Culture and Climate Coaches in the Oak Park and Ridge Forest School District who were hired in 2019 to create more inclusive, equitable and connected school communities throughout the district. The pandemic moved her job online, but it also shed light on how much students need her to continue the work.

NEA Today spoke with Harris about the need for social and emotional learning (SEL) to support student and educator mental health.

Gina Harris

Leaders for Just Schools

Ready to impact your school, district and community around racial and social justice issues? Want to brainstorm with other leaders how to address equity and resilience related issues? The NEA, in partnership with the Kellogg Foundation, has developed a cutting edge leadership development program for those interested in racial, social and educational justice. The IEA and the Opportunity Coalition are pleased to announce the Leaders for Just Schools cohorts for the 2021-22 school year. The instructors are state and local leaders, award winning educators and experienced community organizers who will help you build momentum for change in your local schools and communities. Cohort members who successfully complete the program will receive a micro credential and will have the opportunity to earn an organizing stipend to continue the work.

Dates for the 2021-22 Leaders for Just Schools Level 1 Cohort: – Sept. 18,  Nov. 13,  Jan. 22 and April 23.

All sessions will be held 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Learn more about the Leaders for Just Schools program here!


I hope you are enjoying your summer!!

Summer is a time for you to rest, renew, and recharge. It is a time for self care. Find something you enjoy….then enjoy it.

I have been keeping busy, but finding time to recharge!!

It has been a busy summer with:

  • National Education Association Representative Assembly
  • Participating as a facilatator in a fabulous virtual NEA Mentoring Program
  • Participating in and presenting in the Summer Leadership Academy (next week)
  • Planning/organizing, prepping for a VERY productive Education Support Professional Council year
  • Planning and organizing for my local’s mentoring program
  • Last but most importantly, taking time to breath and enjoy my family

WHY do I do what I do? Well, I enjoy it. I love trying to make a difference and I believe that all support staff deserve to be treated with respect and have the resources they need to support their students, schools, districts, and communities.


Never Underestimate Your Importance!

Education Support Professional Proud!!

Brooke Ceh is a teaching assistant (TA) at Westmont High School, in Illinois, who can’t say no to helping teachers and students. Her only goal? Student success.

In the “before time,” Ceh provided one-on-one help in the physical classroom. This past year, she’s been online, going above and beyond to meet with students outside the school day, even helping students in classes that she does not TA in. The anonymous colleague who told NEA about Ceh calls her amazing, remarkable, and totally dedicated to students.

Philosophy 4 Children
NEA News: What’s Your Inspiration

Share your story! ESPs are making a difference everyday in the lives of our students! #rESPect #ESPsRock #WestmontHighSchool


Webinar Tomorrow-Get Help With Student Debt Webinar

Jul 8, 2021 05:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

IEA is hosting a discussion on student debt on July 8 from 5 pm to 6 pm. Join student debt experts to discuss how we can cancel our student debt. Last year, NEA experts worked with members to obtain more than $1 million in forgiveness and put even more on the path to forgiveness with the NEA Student Debt Navigator. Join us on July 8 to learn more.

*If you have kids approaching college age, don’t miss this webinar. Learn ways to possibly get yours or your kids student loans forgiven. (I am currently in a loan forgiveness program for my kids college education)