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Professional Development

NEA believes that professional development should be required throughout the career of education support professionals. Professional development programs should provide equal opportunities for these educators to gain and improve the knowledge and skills important to their positions and job performance. They should assure that these educators have a decisive voice at every stage of planning, implementation, and evaluation. Student achievement depends on supporting and educating the whole student. To have high standards for students, there must be high standards for the staff members who work with them. 

NEA offers a wide variety of professional development programs through our State Affiliates. Below is a list and description of current programs available to affiliates. 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."

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. This training is offered by NEA as a pre-conference session at the NEA ESP Conference.

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.



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  • anc_dyn_linksGetting Educated: Clerical Services Professionals
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  • anc_dyn_linksESP Certification at the State Level