ESP Insider Update

Message from ESP Council Chair

As I write this, it is my last day of work before spring break. I pray this Insider issue finds you and your family well. This spring feels a little different to me. With the earth beginning to awaken as spring flowers and leaves begin to emerge from their long winter’s sleep, I feel an awakening of hope as our country is beginning to emerge from this long dark Covid winter. As more people get vaccinated, we get closer to returning to “normal.”
This week, I had the privilege to sit on a panel with Cynthia O’Brien from the Effective Educator Development Division, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. I was able to share many ESP issues and concerns regarding the inconsistencies ESPs have, and are still facing, with safety and working conditions during Covid-19. We also discussed Covid-19 vaccinations, possible concerns and/or hesitations people may have. 
Two links were shared with me to share with you:
  1. COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for school settings and childcare programs. School and childcare program leaders can use this toolkit to communicate with their staff about the COVID-19 vaccination. It provides ready-made materials including posters, flyers, letters to staff, social media messages, newsletter articles and stickers to offer staff after they have been vaccinated.
2. Teachers, school staff, and childcare workers: How to get vaccinated. This webpage provides staff with the latest information about how to get vaccinated. As you move into your spring break, please take time for yourself and your family. Not only do you deserve it, it is absolutely essential. It seems to be very common for most ESPs to be givers, fixers and task masters. When there is something that needs to be done…ESPs are the ones who get it done! So, during this spring break, take time for you to rest and recharge. 

Be safe, wear your mask and I encourage you to get vaccinated!

Jill Scarcelli
ESP Council Chair

Elevating ESPs

Congratulations to our newest ESP STARS!

Coritta Frazier
Instructional Assistant, Neil Armstrong Elementary School
Elementary School District 159
District 159 Support Staff Association
IEA Region 26

Mrs. Coritta Frazier has shown outstanding accomplishments in the enhancement of the image of education support professionals in every hallway and classroom at Neil Armstrong Elementary School. While working remotely with Mrs. Frazier for one hour a day, I am acutely aware of her presence (or absence even more so), commitment and passion to any task she is given.

Coritta is technically an instructional assistant, however, she is way more than that. She is the first person called if a teacher needs assistance managing a class or, more than likely, to be a substitute for a teacher (regardless of the class, grade or subject). She can do it all! And she does it without ever complaining!

She is truly impressive and in her “spare time during the school day,” she created a spreadsheet for one of the teachers that we both work with. This spreadsheet allows us to track every homework/class assignment, test, grade and/or special project. Let me say that again — she created the grading system we have been using for an entire class during her spare time!

Coritta never says, “that’s not my job” and even more impressive, this is only her second year in our building/school in her current position.

It is an honor to recognize someone who is truly more than her professional classification/title. In fact, if there is something she can’t do, we haven’t found it yet. Mrs. Frazier is someone who is respected by students, parents, co-workers and administration alike.

Coritta is constantly and consistently going “above and beyond.” She does what she does with calm, grace and professionalism without ever looking for recognition or accolades (which she definitely deserves). She is everything that an ESP Star should be. Congratulations, Mrs. Coritta Frazier!

Terri Svertlecich
Special Education Teaching Associate, Troy Cronin Elementary
Troy School District 30C
Troy Education Association
IEA Region 51

Terri Svertlecich is an outstanding teaching assistant and is always willing to help out where needed. She has worked with students from pre-school through fourth grade.

Terri has worked in the instructional program and in our district STARs Program. She serves as a substitute teacher whenever needed and her positive attitude helps keep morale up among the staff. Congratulations, Terri!

Lorie Estanisao
Transition Paraeducator, South Elgin High School
School District U-46
District U-46 Educational Assistants (DUEA)
IEA Region 63.

Lorie Estanisao is one of our most committed and energetic emerging leaders of our local. Her most recent achievement was to “drive the train” in getting a universal toileting and diapering manual and procedures for our entire district. This means that no matter which of our 57 buildings you enter, you will find the same equipment, supplies and signage in areas where students need toileting or diapering support from a paraeducator. This was a huge undertaking, but Lorie never gave up in her mission to get it done. She sent emails, set up meetings, sought answers, dismantled roadblocks and got it done. This helped ensure the safety of both students and staff, especially during the current pandemic.

Lorie is currently part of the joint district committee to plan the professional development and video tape training modules as part of the new manuals rollout. We are proud to have her as part of our organization! Congratulations, Lorie!

Do you know an outstanding ESP?The ESP Council created the ESP STAR program to allow local leaders and IEA members to recognize and publicize the good work of their education support professional members across the state. Nominate a special ESP today! (Nominations accepted monthly.)

Upcoming ESP Council meeting and roundtable mark your calendar and hold these dates

All ESP members are welcome to attend!
April 17, 9 a.m. – ESP Council meeting (virtual)
April 24, 10 a.m. – ESP roundtable (virtual)
If you have a question or concern, please contact a member of the ESP Council.
Last chance to shop this school year! is open through April 12. Purchase IEA apparel, visors, tumblers, face masks and much more!

IEA One Conference – Oct. 1-2 (virtual)

Save the date and join us for the 2021 One Conference for education support professionals (ESPs), higher education and retired members.

What is the One Conference?
The One Conference is a fabulous IEA conference that is planned with ESPs in mind, to enhance leadership skills and designed to provide professional and personal growth. IEA and your ESP leadership work together to plan this high quality conference. Many of the trainers are ESP leaders who have a passion and talent to support their students and fellow ESPs. Maybe you could be one of our next trainers at this years One Conference! Examples of past sessions include Self Care: Yoga and Communication Strategies for ESPs.

  • If you would like to present at this year’s One Conference, please submit on online Request for Proposal (RFP). Submission deadline is April 30.
  • If you would like to see a particular session be offered at this year’s One Conference, please email your suggestion(s) to ESP Council Chair Jill Scarcelli. This will help in our planning process.

2021 Burroughs Education Scholarship winner

Congratulations Lauren Hagy, winner of this year’s $2,500 Burroughs Education Scholarship AwardLauren is the daughter of IEA member Kari Hagy who is a school guidance counselor and member of the Vandalia Unit Teachers Association in Region 5. Read the press release.

Pictured above, left to right: Dr. Stacy Burroughs, Lauren Hagy and attorney Jay Johnson.
$250 Music and Arts grant
IEA Members! California Casualty’s Music and Arts Grant program is back and will award individual members with a $250 grant for their classroom or program. Apply today for this very popular association member benefit. Applications will be accepted through June 30.
$2,500 Educator Jackpot
California Casualty, the provider of the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program, is offering IEA-NEA members eight chances to win cash in 2021. Winners for the $2,500 prize will be randomly selected every three months of the year with two winners chosen each round. No obligation to enter. Enter Today! 

Elections for IEA ESP Council and other statewide position

Watch your mailbox this week and next for a blue envelope containing online election information to vote for your IEA ESP Council members, NEA RA state delegates and other IEA statewide positions:
If you do not receive your online voting information or have any questions, contact IEA Governance Elections Paraprofessional Kim Trader by email or phone at 217-321-2250. The election closes at 4 p.m. on April 28.

Other News

Update on HR 77 which addresses equity pay for ESPs: IEA legislative update 3/28/21

State of Education report: IEA releases third annual, bipartisan State of Education report

#CancelTheTests – NEA is calling for standardized tests to be canceled during the pandemic: Take action and sign the open letter!

NEA ESP of the Year: Congratulations to the 2021 NEA ESP of the Year Kimberly Scott, New Jersey Education Association!
Stay connected with other ESPs
IEA ESP Council website
IEA ESP website
ESP Professional Caucus on Facebook
ESP Connections on Facebook
Join the NEA ESP Facebook group
Follow @NEArESPect on Twitter
Get involved with the National Council for Education Support Professionals (NCESP)

Upcoming virtual events

April 2-5: Easter Break – IEA offices closed
April 9: IEA Board of Directors Meeting
May 14-15: IEA Board of Directors Meeting
April 17: ESP Council Meeting
April 24: ESP Roundtable
July 19-22 and July 26-29: Virtual Summer Leadership Academy (SLA)
Oct. 1-2: Virtual One Conference
Nov. 5-7: Ethic Minority & Emerging Leadership Training (EMELT)Follow @NEArESPect on Twitter