NEA Grant Opportunity

2020-2021 Student-Centered Bargaining and Advocacy Grant Opportunity 

NEA is pleased to announce the Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Department (CBMA) is now accepting applications for its 2020-2021 Student-Centered Bargaining and Advocacy Grants.

The grant award range is up to $50,000. The online application form, application template, FAQs, grant terms and conditions, and student-centered advocacy attributes document can be found at http://www.nea.org/grants/63562.htm. There is no deadline for submitting grant applications. Applications may be submitted throughout the year or until all grant funds have been committed.


Openings-IEA ESP Emerging Leaders Academy

Are you an ESP who is ready to grow your leadership skills or do you know of an ESP who is ready to take the next step in their leadership journey?

There are a few openings spots for ESP members for the IEA-NEA ESP EMERGING LEADERS ACADEMY (ESP-ELA).  This program trains current and future leaders on the leadership attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to enhance your ability to be a visible and vocal advocate at the local, region, state, and national level.  Topics covered include what makes an effective leader, how to organize, build and maintain membership, how to work with difficult members and how to create an effective local organization.  Participants will also learn more about the IEA, NEA, Unions and Unionism.  This is a nine month (currently remote) learning program that starts in early October.  For additional information please contact Crystal Bush at crystal.bush@ieanea.org 

ESP Emerging Leaders Academy | Illinois Education Association

Register Today: ESP Empowerment Day

You are invited to the 2020 ESP Day of Empowerment on October 3, 2020.

Event Agenda:
9:00 – 9:30 – Whole Group Welcome from the ESP Council and Keynote – 2020 ESPOTY Debra Ciciora
9:45 – 11:15 – Session 1 – ESPs: Being Relevant in a Remote Learning Environment presented by Debra Ward-Mitchell
11:30 – 1:00 – Session 2 – Change Your Mindset: An Introduction to Cultural Competency and Implicit Bias presented by Ann Bachman-McIntosh
1:15 – 2:45 – Session 3 – Equity and Social Justice for All presented by Gina Harris

This virtual event will be recorded and made available after the event for those who are unable to attend live.
Register by midnight October 1st!
Please respond by clicking Yes or No. We look forward to your response.


Ever wonder what you get for your membership dues?

Here are just a few amazing benefits!!

Discounts and Deals Program
This program combines the power of more than 500 world-class brands with the advantage of local merchants in communities throughout Illinois and the USA. Learn more.

IEA and NEA member benefits can be found on the the IEA Benefits webpage.

Need legal help? Take a look at NEA’s Attorney Referral Program.

IEA Connect is here to help by phone,Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by email and live chat, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Open Ethnic Minority Representative Position

The IEA ESP Council is looking for ESP members interested in filling the open Ethnic Minority representative position through the spring of 2021 (when the next election is held).

If you are interested in representing and advocating for ESPs throughout Illinois, please type or print your candidate statement. Candidate statements are limited to no more than 100 characters. SPACES AND PUNCTUATION COUNT AS CHARACTERS. Your statement must not include pressure to vote for the candidate and must be non-promotional, factual and objective. 

Candidate statements must be emailed to ESP Council Chair Jill Scarcelli. Deadline to submit a candidate statement is Oct. 23. An election will be held to fill the position at the ESP Council meeting on Nov. 14.


Webinar-Grief and Self-Care during the Covid19 Pandemic

National Education Association

Education Support Professionals Quality (ESPQ) Department

Center for Great Public Schools Webinar

Grief and Self-Care during the COVID 19 Pandemic

National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement

Thursday, October 8, 2020

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

Register at:


Stress experienced during the COVID 19 pandemic has changed our way of life and forced many to face new challenges. This webinar will provide an overview of the impact that profound personal losses suffered during the COVID 19 pandemic has had on many and suggest strategies that can be utilized to facilitate mourning as well as promote self-care, wellness and resiliency.

Topics Covered

  • Understanding Personal Grief & Loss
  • COVID 19 & Loss Experiences
  • Coping with Grief and Loss
  • Grief Complications  
  • Self-Care, Wellness & Resiliency Strategies                                                                                                               

All registrants will be asked to take a short, confidential survey before the webinar.  This survey will help us understand and respond to participants’ experiences with loss during these challenging times.  The link to the survey will be sent by separate email at the end of September.

Thomas Demaria, Ph.D., Psychologist, National Center for School Crisis & Bereavement, Coalition to Support Grieving Students


NEA affiliate leaders, staff, members and partners. All interested parties are welcome. You are encouraged to forward this invite to your partners, leaders and other team members.


Kimberly Bertocci, NEA Sr. Program/Policy Analyst

Jessica Brinkley, NEA Sr. Program/Policy Analyst


Nominate a deserving ESP for the ESP STAR AWARD

ESPs have always been essential! All across Illinois and the country they are stepping up and making the difference in the lives of their students and communities. The ESP Council created the ESP STAR program to allow IEA local leaders, members and board of directors to recognize and publicize the good work of their ESP members across the state. Use the online nomination form to nominate a special ESP.



ESP Jobs and Duties, the New Normal

SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Attention all Education Support Professionals (“ESP”):

You are invited to attend the IEA ESP Council’s September roundtable where the discussion will include the successes and challenges ESPs are currently facing. Many ESPs jobs and duties have changed due to the Covid-19 virus. Come join us as we support each other during this time. We will discuss different ideas and techniques that ESPs can use to support students, teachers, and schools during remote learning. Participants can share their best practice and gather new ideas to enhance their job duties. IEA Computer Specialist, Tom Kulmacz, will also be available for a short question and answer session regarding tech issues.

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 www.ieaespcouncil.com.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 828 7605 3052
Passcode: 395276
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,82876053052#,,,,,,0#,,395276# US (Chicago)
+13017158592,,82876053052#,,,,,,0#,,395276# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 828 7605 3052
Passcode: 395276
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/klomvUrky


ESPs We Need You Now

We need your help circulating nominating petitions for IEA member Hugh Cunningham to represent our education support professionals (ESPs) – bus drivers, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, school secretaries – on the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Board of Trustees.

The IMRF is the pension system for school support staff. It is important that an ESP serves on this board so the voice of the ESPs can be heard. Cunningham cannot do that unless he receives enough signatures. Your help is greatly appreciated.

The petition packet includes circulation instructions and a pre-filled petition. Please review the circulation instructions carefully. Only active ESPs who participate in IMRF may sign the nominating petition. Petitions are due on or before Tues., Sept. 15.

Every Name Is Important. Even If You Just Send One Signature!!

Please print, fill out the form, take a picture and email it to IMRFTrusteeElection@imrf.org

Click for Petition Packet
If you have questions regarding the petition packet or the nomination process, please contact IEA Political Consultant Will Lovett.