Education Support Professionals are critical members of the workforce and ensure student success from pre-school through college. Read more about how you can support them this week!
Annual events such as National Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day are excellent awareness initiatives for the public to recognize contributions made behind the scenes. The National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly established the day in 1987 to honor support staff. Dude Solutions has long recognized the significance of these selfless individuals, dedicated teams and motivated leadership, so when this day arrives, we leverage the opportunity to promote their efforts and inspire others to do the same.
To help local initiatives, the NEA publishes robust resources on how to promote the day, including graphics, posters, handout cards and materials. For social media, #EducationalSupportProfessionalsDay may be used in conjunction with #AEW2017 for this year’s American Education Week.
To summarize key ideas to use from the NEA’s Guide to Celebrate National Education Support Professionals Day:
Get the Word Out
- Create a proclamation recognizing and acknowledging ESP roles in schools, colleges and universities
- Use "traditional" media (e.g., radio, TV, newspaper) in addition to social media to promote awareness
- Include stories or experiences from students and staff
Ways to Say Thank You
- Letter of appreciation (especially from students)
- Shadow or swap roles
- Donate in someone’s name
- Lottery ticket
- Travel mug
- Tickets to a movie or event
- Gift certificates/gift cards
- Spa or massage treatment
- A “thank-you” card, a lottery ticket and a raffle in each building with each location’s winner receiving a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant
- Candy bar with playful names on a note:
- “You are worth a million, but we can only afford 100 Grand”
- “We have an extra Payday for you"
- Three Musketeer bars: “All for one and one for all.
- Plastic apple containing a lottery ticket, candy and a note with “You are the core of our success”
- Stemmed rosebuds to the ESP staff, with a note: “For all you do, this bud’s for you”
To summarize Ken Wertz at an MFAA conference: “We do not do what we do to become rich, we do it for the kids. Nothing is more heartwarming than to see a smiling child skipping down the hall and know we are a part of that happiness.” The mantra he follows: “No child will lose an opportunity or miss an experience because someone did not do their job”.
At a different conference, a custodian made a comment that I had to address: “I’m just a custodian.”
My response was “There is no such thing! You are the first in and the last out. You see what others do not. Who else in your building knows how to handle a bloodborne pathogen situation?! Without you, there is chaos. Think about your day and what you do and never say that again. Did you make a student smile this week?”
He stood a little taller, curved a smile, then leaned in and shook my hand.
“Yes. Yes, I did, and thank you.”
Sometimes, even the simple recognition of someone’s efforts makes a difference.
Here is a powerful reminder of what each type of ESP contributes beyond the operational aspect of their day:
To all the education support professionals, enjoy your day of recognition and we hope we have an influence in it.