Skip to Content

An Experience and Honor

The ESP Professional Growth Continuum

On November 17th I was honored to serve alongside eight of my education support professional (ESP) colleagues on a panel to celebrate the launch of the Education Support Professionals: Professional Growth Continuum. The event which took place as part of American Education Week, afforded ESP and teachers the opportunity to highlight the impact that professional excellence and career growth have on student learning.

NEA is the first organization to develop universal standards that will elevate the professional careers of the nearly 500,000 ESP all across the country! This is groundbreaking and I am humbled and honored to be a part of such as movement! The PGC will help to professionalize our careers and increase the long overdue respect and visibility that we so rightfully deserve.

The PGC will help ESP identify and document professional growth over time and will provide clear pathways for professional learning. It consists of eight universal standards within three levels of practice (foundational, proficient, advanced/mastery).

As a special education paraeducator in my home town of Lakeport, California, I represented paraeducators on the panel. NEA Vice President, Becky Pringle, skillfully moderated our panel leaving us inspired as she always does when she speaks. My fellow panelists who represented the other eight NEA ESP career families proudly shared their personal stories of how they educate the whole student and how they see the PGC positively impacting the ESP in their school districts.

This opportunity made me realize that even though I’ve been a paraeducator for 30 years, there is still a tremendous amount for me to learn. For example, in looking at the PGC standards for my career family, I realized that I am advanced in communication, however, I have a lot of room for professional growth around cultural competency. I embrace this challenge and look forward to using it as an opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge for the success of my students.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village?” Well it takes a village to educate the whole student. Attendees also heard from a panel of teachers who spoke about the newly released Great Teaching and Learning: Creating the Culture to Support Professional Excellence report. After studying both reports, I realized that they support and align with each other in so many ways! Great teaching and learning can’t happen without skilled ESP who have had the opportunity for professional growth. We all work together for student success and supporting professional growth and a culture of excellence amongst ALL educators is how we achieve great public schools for ALL students.

To learn more about NEA’s ESP PGC or to download a copy, visit

Add Your Voice

Visit the Paraeducator Institute group on NEA edCommunities, NEA's online, professional, interactive social community, to leave a comment on this article.



Get Connected in edCommunities

How to Join NEA edCommunities

  1. Visit and register if you are not already a member of edCommunities. 
  2. Once you are a member of edCommunities, search for the NEA Paraeducator Institute Group page by clicking on GROUPS (along the top rail of the page) and typing the first few words of the group name into the search bar.
  3. Click “Join”