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ESP Mentoring: More Important Than Ever

The rapid changes in our world today have made education an increasingly demanding and complex environment.  And while much of the responsibility for these increasingly complex demands fall on ESP, they still often have had to make do with little to no support. While ESP account for more than one third of today’s public education workforce, they often have inadequate or nonexistent professional development and training.  That is why formal mentoring programs are more important than ever.

Mentoring Is Part of the Answer

NEA has been taking steps to recognize the vital role ESP play as equal and essential members in education. To that end, it is seeking better professional development and supports for ESP and is mounting a deliberate effort to increase ESP involvement in developing their own professional pathways.

Mentoring for ESP, similar to the long-established mentoring relationships between new and experienced teachers, can help ESP deal with the growing complexity of their careers and meet the increasing demands placed on education systems. Mentoring for early career ESP (those in their first five years) is especially critical to ensuring seamless integration into their new careers and the education community.

ESP mentoring programs are essential in order to:

  • Support ESP in the development of personal and professional skills and knowledge from day one and early in their careers.
  • Ensure that the ESP community has a greater voice in the workplace, more opportunities to build their own professional pathways, and increased abilities at assisting students who are striving for success.
  • Retain high quality support professionals in the education workforce.
  • Contribute to the overall mission of closing student achievement gaps.
  • Elevate all of the ESP careers.

Do you have an ESP mentoring program in your school district, local Association or State?  Let us know by contacting us at


ESP: SUPPORTING OUR OWN THROUGH MENTORING:  This manual is designed to assist state and local Associations and/or school districts/universities to plan and implement mentoring programs for ESP. It includes sections on why mentoring is important for ESP; the benefits of mentoring for mentors, mentees, and schools/universities; things to consider when setting up a mentoring program; and sample tools and forms. Three sample mentoring programs from around the country are discussed in detail, and sample mentoring contract language and memoranda of understanding are also included.


Do you have an ESP mentoring program in your school district, local Association or State?  Let us know at