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photo of two female food service workers in a cafeteria

Take action on Education Support Professionals Day

Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day is November 17, 2021! Join us to celebrate and advocate for the amazing school support staff who continue to go above and beyond for our school communities.

Transitioning back to in-person learning has had its challenges, but ESPs have been there for our students every step of the way. They're cleaning and repairing buildings with old infrastructure, navigating multiple bus routes and preparing healthy meals amid staffing and supply shortages, addressing social-emotional impacts of the pandemic, and so much more. 

We must elevate the important work ESPs do for our school communities and advocate for their professional respect. This includes advocating for better pay and benefits, providing access to more training, protecting jobs, and building back better to strengthen public education for all.

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

Read about important issues impacting ESPs

Linda Estrada

What Education Support Professionals Want this ESP Day (and Every Day)

From job shortages to crumbling facilities to low pay, ESPs face many challenges. There are actions we can take to address them on ESP Day.
school cafeteria food shortages

Food Supply Chain Issues Hitting School Cafeterias

Amid shortages, food service professionals scramble to feed students.

Low Pay, Poor Benefits Driving School Transportation Shortage

A national school bus driver shortage is hitting districts across the country where delivery drivers earn more.

Use social media to share stories about ESPs and their experiences.  

  • Give a shout out to ESPs who have been going above and beyond to help your school communities.
  • Highlight the challenges ESPs in your district are facing and recommend actions to support them. 
  • 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.
Kimberly Scott-Hayden
"Whether or not we come into direct contact with students, we are part of the public education system that helps to build their success...We need to tell our stories about how we impact our students.”
Quote by: Kimberly Scott-Hayden, 2021 NEA ESP of the Year

Write an Op-ed or Letter to the Editor to elevate ESP voice 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

photo of Latina educator holding a clipboard in front of a bus

Nov. 18 | Using Advocacy to Address Contemporary Issues Facing ESPs

Learn how to advocate for education support professionals (ESPs) and address the issues affecting them in today’s school climate. How have pressing issues like COVID, staff shortages, and radicalized parents impacted the way we advocate? And in the future, how will demands for higher compensation and better professional development reshape the ESP world?
student mental health

Dec. 9 | Avoid the Burnout and Take Care of You

Self-care isn't one size fits all. This workshop is for union activists struggling to balance life with the challenges of being good at their job, a responsible caregiver to children and other family members, while still doing important union work. Join this webinar to learn how to take better care of you!
    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.