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.