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photo of African American bus driver high-fiving student on the bus

Celebrate Education Support Professionals Day

Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day is November 16, 2022! Join us as we share all the ways ESPs have made a personal impact on our lives.

ESPs hold a special place in the hearts of everyone in our school communities. If you ask any student about their day, they will likely have a story to share about the bus driver who gets them to and from school safely, the secretary who greets them every morning with a smile, the cafeteria worker who feeds them healthy meals at lunch, or the paraeducator who provides them with the space to learn and grow every day. These ESPs, and more, work alongside other caring adults to help our students get what they need to succeed.

This ESP Day, we’re coming together to share our stories and celebrate the amazing people who make our schools complete.

Show your support for education support professionals by taking the actions below!

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How ESPs impact our school communities

Diannia Miller

Front Office Staff Open the Door to School Community

Anyone who has worked in a school knows clerical professionals are central to everything that happens.
ESP Andrea Beeman speaks at Essential Workers of the Pandemic Event in Washington, D.C.

Education Support Professionals Honored as Essential Workers of the Pandemic

Ohio special education paraeducator highlighted the work of the nation's education support professionals at Department of Labor induction ceremony in Washington, D.C.
ESP of the Year Debra Ward-Mitchell speaks from the stage at the NEA Representative Assembly

2022 ESP of the Year Celebrates ESPs Who Give Their All to Students

"As union members and leaders, we have the power to fight for the professional respect that all educators want and deserve,” says the Illinois education support professional.

Use social media to share stories of impact

  • Tell us: How has an ESP made a difference in your life or the lives of people in your community? 
  • Give a shout-out to ESPs who have been going above and beyond to help your school communities.
  • Get creative through photos, videos, and more! Remember to use #WeLoveOurESPs in your posts.
  • Join our ESP Facebook Group and Follow us on Twitter @NEArESPect to stay connected.
2022 ESP of the Year Debra Ward-Mitchell
“As paraeducators, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, and other ESPs, we give our all. We give our all in service to our fellow educators, students, and our communities."
Quote by: Debra Ward-Mitchell, 2022 NEA ESP of the Year

Write an Op-ed or Letter to the Editor to lift ESP stories and advocate for their professions.

Respond to one of these prompts:

  • How have ESPs impacted your school community? 

  • What challenges are ESPs facing amid staffing and supply shortages?

  • What supports do ESPs need to ensure better working conditions and to succeed in their professions?

Check out these resources to support ESPs

ESP Professional Growth Continuum Cover

ESP Professional Learning Opportunities

To ensure a great public education for every student, education support professionals (ESPs) want and deserve high-quality professional development and supports at every stage of their careers. NEA offers association-convened and educator-led programs to support ESPs throughout their careers and build a culture of professional excellence and student success in public education.
Teacher and paraeducator team

Job & Career Security

We are coming together to fight privatization and ensure job and career security for all educators. No matter their age, from Pre-K to higher ed, our students benefit when all educators—janitorial staff, paraeducators, and college professors alike—are treated like the professionals they are.

Resources to Support Student and Educator Mental Health

Research shows that SEL is the foundation of academic success and is even more critical during times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that addressing mental health must become a priority in our school communities--for students, teachers, education support professionals, and other educators alike.

Upcoming Events for ESPs

image of educator talking to a diverse group of students in a circle

Nov. 9 | The Importance of Pronouncing Names Correctly

In this webinar, we will discuss the importance of pronouncing a student's name properly and the profound impact that it can have on them throughout their life. Join us to learn techniques to master how to say names properly so we can show our marginalized students that we see them, value them, and respect their cultures and identities.
student mental health

Dec. 8 | Changing the Lens to Change the Outcome

In this session, you will gain practical ideas to build emotional resilience as ESPs. Learn to take responsibility for your emotional well-being in the face of trauma and secondary traumatic stress by cultivating your resilience to better meet student needs. This session is based on Elena Aguilar’s workbook, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators, and will incorporate meaningful exercises you can easily take back to your respective roles and work environments. Self-care is important, whether you are a paraeducator or bus driver. Focus on your own well-being by cultivating resilience to change the outcome for yourself and the students you work with daily.

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    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.