Education Support Professional Council consists of thirteen (13) members all of whom are ESP school employees and members of the Illinois Education Association. The ESP council's goal is to represent and support ESP's throughout Illinois.
When asked what you do…how many of you say, I’m just a…… para-pro, bus driver, or fill in the blank with your job position? Let me make this very clear. You are not “Just” anything! You are important and what you do is essential to our students and school community! You are an Education Support Professional!! Thank you for all you do for out students, schools, and the communities that support us.
We need to see value in ourselves if we expect others to see value in us.
As ESP we often are treated like we are a dime a dozen profession. Not worth the time and energy to support or respect. Well today I started a journey. A journey that my IEA (Illinois Education Association) president suggested I apply to take. Wow, yes, how do you say no to that? A journey that NEA believes ESPs deserve. A journey that I’m told will test and stretch me. I believe it…its day one and for me to step this far out of my comfort zone, to fly across the country in to LAX by myself is extremely unnerving but also so exciting! I will update this blog post as the weekend continues. I hope you follow and will be encouraged that you are apart of something great, something that sees greatness in you as an awesome ESP.
Day 1 NEA ESP Leadership Institute: Started early as I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles. I arrived in LAX nervous but excited for this weekend. As we came together for the first time it was evident to see how much love, strength, and personality was in the room. So much love for their students, their schools, and communities. I saw the strength of each ESP as we got up in front of everyone and told our “Why” of why we do what we do. Tears were spilled as well as so much laughter. The personality in the room…lets just say this will never be boring! So many hilarious amazing new “sisters”. I look forward to tomorrow as we continue this journey.
Day 2: NEA ESP Leadership Institute: Wow, today was a long but amazing day. My interpretation of today’s theme was self-awareness. It was an extremely reflective, and challenging day. We were challenged through many activities to discover our true self, our sense of self, self-image, and self esteem. We learned that if you want to make a change and develop new skills, you have to know where you are so you know which skills you need to develop that will help you get to where you need to be.
One quote from today that has resonated with me is: Start were you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied. – George Washington Carver (My interpretation: Start with who you are, with the skills you have, do the work, and never stop learning)
Day 3: NEA ESP Leadership Institute: Growth and self reflection was a continued theme today. We tested our own ideas and beliefs on our leadership qualities to see where we are. Am I passive, assertive, or aggressive? What are my weaknesses? I feel a huge difference today with my confidence during discussions and activities. I feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas. This class of 20 ladies have come together from all across the country, most extremely unsure of what to expect during this weekends training. We are ladies from different experiences, cultures, and races and we have become so close in such a short amount of time. I love my NEA ESPLI 2020 sisters! Bring on tomorrow!!
Nine out of 10 students in America attend public schools. Public Schools Week is a national celebration to highlight the great things happening in our nation’s public schools as well as bring attention to the critical issues facing our schools, students and educators. This initiative shows the strength and potential of public schools in a democratic society. Public Schools Week 2020 will be held February 24-28, 2020. Click the link above for more information and to take the pledge of support for public education.
The 166th Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly (RA) convenes on March 5, 2020. The debates and decisions made by the assembled delegates set the direction of IEA for the coming year. Attending the RA helps you to understand how the Illinois Education Association works, helps you to network, and have a voice in IEA policies and legislation. Your voice matters!
We missed you today!! We were so happy to have several guests attend, but if you were not able to come today, mark your calendars for the next meeting on April 18th in the Sterling IEA office. The ESP Council and Presidents Round Table met in the Matteson IEA office this morning with lots on the agenda. A lot of great items were discussed on how to better support ESPs throughout Illinois. We are continuously planning and brainstorming on how to better reach our ESP members and to improve our support. We are excited about what is to come. If you are attending the IEA RA on March 5th-7th in Rosement, Illinois, you won’t want to miss coming to the ESP resource room. We also began researching ideas on how to make the One Conference that is in October bigger and better than ever.
One task we challenge ourselves is to provide intriguing sessions at the One Conference that are helpful, relevant, and encouraging for our members. If you have a topic, or suggestion for a session please post below. Your voice matters!
Truth: Without ESPs our students, schools, and communities would greatly suffer. Don’t miss the opportunity to nominate a deserving ESP. If you know of an ESP that deserves a little recognition, nominate them today at: https://ieanea.org/forms/esp-stars-nomination-form/