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American Education Week focuses on nation’s commitment to students and educators

Eskelsen García: We are recognizing the important role that public education plays in the future of our students


WASHINGTON - November 14, 2016 -

Communities across the nation will join the National Education Association (NEA) Nov. 14-18, 2016, to celebrate American Education Week (AEW), which is in its 95th year. The annual observance honors students, educators, and parents—and rededicates the community at large to quality public education for every student.

“American Education Week serves as a tribute to the team of people who work with our students, everyone from the classroom teacher and the bus driver to the cafeteria worker and the administration staff—plus countless others,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “This week is a great time to say thank you to school employees who work in and out of the classroom.”

Monday, Nov. 17
AEW Kickoff Day will present all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.

Tuesday, Nov. 18
On Parents Day, schools invite parents into the classroom for a hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child.

NEA Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss will visit TC Williams High School, George Mason Elementary School and Francis C. Hammond Middle in Alexandria, Va.

Wednesday, Nov. 19
Wednesday is a national day of recognition of education support professionals (ESPs) who are integral members of the education team. Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day focuses on the importance of these school employees, who make up 40 percent of the school staff and take care of students every day, making sure they have the tools they need to succeed in school.

President Eskelsen García, along with National ESP of the Year Doreen McGuire Grigg and Council for Education Support President Debby Chandler, will visit Rogers High School in Spokane, Wash. NEA teamed up with the DUDE. be nice Project (www.dudebenice.com) to pull off a series of surprises for the self-proclaimed “lunch bunch” cafeteria workers at the school. The DUDE. be nice project is a platform to inspire people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative and meaningful way

Thursday, Nov. 20
On AEW’s Educator for a Day, leaders across the country will be invited to serve as educators in their local public school districts to get a glimpse at a day in the life of a school employee.

Friday, Nov. 21
Substitute Educators Day honors the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers. In honor of NEA’s 95th annual American Education Week, NEA asked educators from across the country to vote for whom they’d like to see substituting for them. Results will be revealed on the 21st.

“As we take the time this week to recognize the important role that public education plays in the future of our students,” said Eskelsen García, “we also want to take a moment to uplift and champion the outstanding work and contributions of teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, school nurses, and custodians—all who work so hard on behalf of our students.”

AEW takes place the week prior to Thanksgiving. It was first celebrated in 1921, with NEA and the American Legion as co-sponsors, and grew out of national concern over illiteracy. After 95 years, the original goal of American Education Week—to generate public awareness and support for education—continues today.

This year’s AEW tagline, Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility, is a reminder that all Americans must do their part to help create great public schools for every student.

To find out more about the week-long celebration, visit www.nea.org/aew or contact your local public school.

To help plan and promote AEW celebration days, go to www.nea.org/aew for tips and ideas. Be sure to follow AEW on Facebook and Twitter with #aew2016.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser  202-262-0589, cfbusser@nea.org