NEA believes that professional development should be required throughout the career of education support professionals. Professional development programs should provide equal opportunities for these employees to gain and improve the knowledge and skills important to their positions and job performance. These programs should assure that appropriate education employees have a decisive voice at every stage of planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Student achievement depends on rigorous standards and a knowledgeable education team. To have high standards for students, there must be high standards for the staff members who work with them. Professional development programs are meant to provide ESP’s with opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that will enhance their professional growth. In turn, ESP’s use their newly developed skills and knowledge, thereby increasing their contributions within the educational community.
NEA offers a wide variety of professional development programs through our State Affiliates. Below is a list and description of the programs available. Our two premier professional development opportunities are the NEA ESP National Conference and the NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow program. Additional programs may be available to ESP members through their State or Local Association.
For additional information on any of the professional development programs below please contact Lisa Connor in the ESP Quality Department.
The NEA ESP National Conference
The NEA ESP Conference is the premier professional development conference for Education Support Professionals. The conference is designed to provide professional development opportunities for participants to help them gain the skills they need to build stronger locals: building strong internal and external relationships, organizing members, and enhancing NEA ESP members' ability to influence positively student achievement.
NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow
The NEA LFT program was created to train future ESP leaders in leadership attitudes, skills, and knowledge. The overarching goal is to develop skilled ESP leaders across the 50 states. Each year 20 ESP members are selected to participate in the program through an extremely competitive process. LFT is based on a learning community concept influenced by systems thinking guru Peter Senge's work.
"When all is said and done, the only change that will make a difference is the transformation of the human heart."
Building the Pyramid: Result-Oriented Job Descriptions (ROJD)
An accurate and meaningful job description is the basis for an employee’s work and job security. This training is designed to introduce a new approach for defining the work that ESPs do. This approach enables ESPs in a school district to develop and write their own job descriptions. Sample results-oriented job descriptions are given for each job category.
Results-Oriented Job Descriptions: How Paraeducators Help Students Achieve
This training outlines the process by which results-oriented job descriptions can be written. The process benefits more than just the individual paraeducator; it also strengthens the local association and creates a new understanding in the community of the role paraeducators play in building quality public education. One way to help achieve these outcomes is to develop job descriptions that are accurate and complete and that reflect the full range of ways paraeducators contribute to the overall mission of the school district and the community. A new approach – a results-oriented job description (ROJD) – can provide clear job expectations for the paraeducator and for his/her supervisor
Beat Privatization: A Step-by-Step Crisis Action Plan
When a school district is already considering contracting out for services, it’s too late to develop a pro-active anti-privatization campaign. The local must organize and act immediately! When it is necessary to react to a privatization crisis, Beat Privatization provides the tools necessary to organize the reaction into an Offensive Action Plan for the local and its members.
Stepping Up to the Plate: A Training Guide for Emerging Leaders
This NEA training is designed to help local and state association members who have stepped forward to become leaders in their local organizations. The training is designed to help prepare potential leaders for their leadership roles in the state and local associations. The training can be implemented as a two-day training session or a series of independent workshops. It is divided into three main sections: NEA History and Governance Structure; Leadership Roles and Responsibilities; Membership Recruitment and Development.
Develop a Local Association Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Action Plan;
Tips and Tools for Improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Schools
Maintaining a healthy school environment is a necessary and essential educational investment. Healthy indoor air in a public school building is the business of everyone. Custodians are the front line guardians and managers of the school environment. The goal of this training is to assist NEA state and local affiliates create local association IAQ action plans and to provide custodial staff with the tools, tips and resources that will help them improve and maintain a quality indoor environment.
Organizing: The Power of Collective Action
This training is designed to help Association members develop the skills needed to organize in a variety of situations. It includes the five basic steps of any organizing campaign, ways to use these step in five different types of organizing campaigns and organizing tools that can be used in a variety of campaigns.
Supporting Our Own: ESP Mentoring
NEA believes that mentoring programs help enhance the professional expertise of employees as well as assist in retaining quality staff. Supporting Our Own is designed to assist members in their understanding of mentoring in general and outlines the necessary steps to implements a successful mentoring program.
Building Winning Teams within the School Community
This program was designed to assist NEA State Affiliates build stronger educational teams at the local level and address the need for better understanding, communication, and collaboration among all members of the school community. By working as a team, the school community can create a safer learning environment, help close the achievement gaps, and build stronger learning communities.