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Press Release

NEA salutes public education’s extraordinary heroes on National Education Support Professionals Day

Annual event highlights essential role of ESPs in helping every student thrive
Published: November 17, 2021

Annual event highlights essential role of ESPs in helping every student thrive  

WASHINGTON – Parents, students, and their fellow educators across the nation are joining the National Education Association in celebrating National Education Support Professionals Day on Wednesday, November 17th. 

Education support professionals (ESPs) are critical members of the education workforce who do essential work to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students, and enable them to reach higher levels of knowledge, achievement, and success. They include paraeducators, clerical staff, custodians, tradespeople and technical staff, and also school security officers, school bus drivers, food service workers, and health and student service employees. Together, this critical group of employees makes up more than one-third of all public school employees. 

"Our ESPs are the extraordinary heroes who work tirelessly to keep students safe, healthy, and ready to learn. They clean and repair aging school buildings, navigate multiple bus routes,  prepare healthy meals, help students address social-emotional needs, and so much more," said National Education Association President Becky Pringle. "Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, our education support professionals around the nation have gone the extra mile to meet the needs of our students and school communities. And they are doing so amid staffing and supply shortages that make it harder for them to get their students what they need. That is why it is critical we honor our ESPs with more than just words. We must elevate the important work ESPs do for our school communities and advocate for their professional respect." 

This year, NEA President Becky Pringle will celebrate National ESP Day in Delaware as part of her Joy, Justice, and Excellence tour. While there, she will join Delaware State Education Association President Stephanie Ingram in meeting ESP members and discussing how they can be better supported as they continue helping students and communities thrive. President Pringle also will attend a celebration for transportation workers in New Castle, Del., and a celebration for food service workers in Middletown, Del.  Throughout American Education Week, President Pringle will spend time each day honoring the vast array of education professionals working to support the physical, mental, and academic well-being of students.  

About American Education Week 
National Education Support Professionals Day is part of NEA’s 100th annual American Education Week celebration, taking place this year November 15-19. National ESP Day is observed on Wednesday of American Education Week. 

Celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving, American Education Week began in 1921 with the NEA and the American Legion as cosponsors. The goal was to generate public awareness and support for education because of concerns over illiteracy. A year later, the U.S. Office of Education signed on, and the PTA followed in 1938. 

American Education Week honors students’ determination to learn; recognizes the professionalism and dedication of teachers, support staff, and other educators; thanks parents and members of the community who help students succeed; and rededicates the community at large to quality public education for every student. 


Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle 

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.