AEA Education Support Professional of the Year Award
Stephanie Mays, a secretary at Dermott Elementary School, was named Educational Support Professional (ESP) of the Year during the Arkansas Education Association's (AEA) ESP Statewide Conference, held April 1-2.
Mays has devoted herself to the students at Dermott Elementary School (located in Chicot County) for the past 13 years. She coordinates the Student of the Month program, helps to ensure that needy students and their families receive assistance, and coordinates fundraisers to help the school fund educational field trips for the students. She is a member of the Dermott Education Association and has been an NEA member for 12 years. She is an active member of the PTA and currently serves as president of the Classified Personnel Policy Committee. She is a strong advocate for NEA and AEA, and has encouraged dozens of Dermott School District employees to join the organization.
AEA holds its annual statewide conference to recognize the contributions ESPs make to public schools, and to encourage them to take pride in their professions. The ESP of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have been nominated by their peers for their unique contributions to their profession and public schools. ESPs include a variety of occupations, such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, custodians and more.
Donna Morey, Arkansas Education Association President, presents the Education Support Professionalof the Year Award to Stephanie Mays, a school secretary who has worked at Dermott Elementary School for 13 years. Mays received the award during AEA’s ESP Statewide Conference, held April1-2 in Little Rock.
AEA Education Support Professional of the Year Award
Purpose: The AEA Education Support Professional of the Year Award recognizes the contributions of Education Support Professionals to their schools, communities, and their profession. The award is presented to a member of the AEA who demonstrates outstanding accomplishments and reflects the contributions of ESP to public education.
Award: An appropriate plaque and $250
Eligibility: All current Education Support Professional members of an AEA local affiliate who have been an AEA member for three years as of January 15 of the award year are eligible. Individuals must be nominated by their local association.
Deadline: All nominations must be received by AEA no later than February 18, 2012.
For nomination information, contact Prudence Martin at 501-375-4611, ext. 108, or
800-632-0624, ext. 108, or by e-mail email@example.com
Norma Henry Named ESP of the Year-April 21
With 33 years as a paraprofessional under her belt, and the respect of her colleagues and community, Norma Henry well deserves recognition as the Arkansas Education Association's (AEA) ESP of the Year.
Henry is a Title 1 Paraprofessional who assists literacy and math teachers at Clinton Primary School in the Hope Public School District. "I presently divide my day between a kindergarten class and a first grade class, which has allowed consistency in instruction for kindergarteners who I aid the next year as first graders," she said.
In a written statement to AEA, Mary Lovell, president of the Hope Education Association (HEA), said, "She lets students know that she has high expectations for them and constantly tells them that they can learn if they work hard and believe in themselves. One of the things that the HEA commends her for is teaching her students morals and values at an early age and emphasizing that they should respect others, as well as themselves."
Henry's professionalism, expertise and long-time association with the Hope School District have gained her the respect of administrators, teachers and fellow Education Support Professionals (ESP). She frequently serves as a mentor for teachers new to the school district, and helps them acclimate to their new job. She also helps other ESPs with any questions they may have about personnel issues, and she has served as a spokesperson to address concerns ESPs may have with school administrators.
Within her role as an ESP, Henry is currently a member of the HEA and the Arkansas ESP Advisory Committee. She has served as an HEA building representative for 10 years and has also served on the Hope Public Schools Classified Personnel Policy Committee for 15 years.
Henry is as active within her community as she is in her school. She is a founding member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit #427 and a board member of the Neva Carmichael Scholarship Committee.
"I am proud to be an ESP, and I continually strive to promote the education support profession as an admirable career option," Henry said. "I let those that I come into contact with know that ESPs contribute to the success of school districts and student achievement."
ESPs Honored During American Education Week
Information for this article was compiled from the National Education Association Web site. To learn more about Education Support Professionals and ESP Day, visit the NEA's Web site at http://www.nea.org/home/1604.htm
Across America, nearly 3.5 million support professionals transport students to schools that are kept safe, clean and well-maintained; where school offices are operating efficiently and records are kept properly; where nutritious meals are served; where quality instructional assistance is provided; and where special programs – such as those for handicapped and disadvantaged students – are provided. Clearly, our public schools cannot operate without those people we collectively call Education Support Professionals, or ESPs.
Nationwide, there are about one-half million NEA members who are ESPs, and they are the fastest growing membership group within the NEA.
Education Support Professionals Day was first celebrated in 1987 after the NEA's Representative Assembly called for the creation of a way to honor contributions of school support staff. National Education Support Professionals Day is a time to strengthen support and respect for these colleagues.
In 2003, Karen Mahurin, then president of NEA's National Council of Education Support Professional (NCESP) members, led a successful campaign at the NEA Representative Assembly to change the formal name from "Education Support Personnel" to "Education Support Professionals." The new name reflects a growing pride in the valuable role education support professionals play throughout America's public schools.
Today's support professionals provide invaluable services that enable students to learn in positive, supportive environments. ESPs include: school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, paraeducators, school nurses, office assistants, technicians, custodians and security professionals.
Some facts about ESPs include:
- ESPs make up more than forty percent (40%) of the total K-12 education workforce.
- On average, education support professionals have been employed in the field for 12 years. Thirty percent (30%) of ESPs have more than 15 years of experience.
- Eighty percent (80%) of NEA’s ESP members work full time.
- More than forty-two percent (42%) have an associate’s or more advanced degree, and that same percentage has special certificates.
- Seventy-eight percent (78%) of ESPs have responsibilities that include ensuring student and staff safety; for fifty-one percent (51%) of them, promoting school safety is a central duty of their jobs.
- Fifty-three percent (53%) of ESPs provide care to students with special needs.
- Twenty-four percent (24%) volunteer to teach or support art or musical activities. Twenty-four percent (24%) coach or support sports programs.
Organizing Training Held August 6 and 7 for ESP
Trainers presented skills needed to organize in a variety of situations for LRESP. Trainers from the National Education Association presented topics such as growth and strengthening ESP units. Carolyn Johnson from NEA Member Benefits presented information about new NEAMB for 2009-10.
Times may be tough right now, but NEA Member Benefits works hard to help you make ends meet.
Carolyn McClain Johnson, NEA Member Benefits consultant, gave an in-depth presentation about the many benefits, bargains, savings and helpful resources they offer to members during AEA's Summer Leaders Work Conference in July and local training for LRESP in August.
"We know that we have members who are downright struggling," Johnson said. "We believe we're on the cutting edge when it comes to how we interact with our membership, and how we provide for you and your needs." She also pointed out that the exceptional benefits provided by NEA Member Benefits can also be a tool to help recruit and retain members. "The bigger the membership, the greater your voice is as an association," she said.
The newly redesigned NEA Member Benefits Web site at www.neamb.com is organized into five "channels": Money, Everyday Living, Health and Wellness, Professional Resources, and Travel and Leisure. Each channel includes helpful articles, tools and resources, and also provides links to member benefits in each area.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg. A complete list of member benefits can be found at www.neamb.com/home/productsAndServices.htm. A few of those that Johnson discussed were:
- NEA Click & Save. This exclusive shopping service offers savings on brand name merchandise from hundreds of top retailers, online stores and local merchants. You must register to participate.
- NEA Vision and Prescription Savings Plan. NEA members can save from 5% to 50% off vision care and prescription drugs.
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Members may be eligible for customized loans, a home refinance program and online money management information.
- NEA Income Protection Plan. Available to NEA members who are actively employed in the field of education 15+ hours per week.
- Special discounts on Whirlpool appliances and K-Mart school supplies.
She also said that NEA Member Benefits has established a relationship with Teacher to Teacher-Arkansas a free online job search and recruitment service for ALL education professionals. This service gives NEA members access to job opportunities and resources nationwide.
"We think our service is above the bar," Johnson said. She emphasized that NEA Member Benefits exists to make sure every member's needs are met. "You're dedicated to your students, and you're dedicated to the association. Your dedication drives us to do our best as we develop those programs."