Picking up students in the morning on the school bus and turning off the lights long after they have gone home, Education Support Professionals (ESPs) are the backbone of our public schools. Today on CTA ESP Day, we celebrate all that ESPs do every day to protect, support and nurture students.
“Schools simply could not operate without ESPs. They play a key role in establishing relationships with students and parents and helping ensure that the school day runs smoothly,” says CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “With ESPs as our partners and colleagues, we have been able to persevere through this pandemic.”
ESPs support school communities at all hours of the day, providing vital services that keep schools running smoothly. NEA ESPs work in the following areas:
- Clerical services
- Custodial and maintenance services
- Food services
- Health and student services
- Security services
- Skilled trades
- Technical services
- Transportation services
“ESPs make up one-third of the entire education workforce, and California’s schools could not run without them,” says Boyd. “To our ESPs, we say thank you for everything that you do and thank you for believing in our students so they can believe in themselves.”
One of those special ESPs is Mariposa Elementary School office manager and Redlands Education Support Professionals Association (RESPA) member Mary Ambriz, who was named the 2022 Paula J. Monroe CTA ESP of the Year in March. RESPA President Liz Huerta-Brewster said Ambriz is helpful, caring, resourceful and always happy to offer service no matter the task.
“She lifts up ESP colleagues by expressing that ESPs matter, that our students matter, and together we can achieve great things,” Huerta-Brewster said.
Boyd said that Ambriz’ commitment to serving others at the school and in her union is inspiring.
“Educational support professionals make school days possible with their contributions and through their partnership with classroom teachers and staff,” he said. “As the school office manager, Mary doesn’t skip a beat looking out for students, fellow educators, and the school community.”
Nearly 3 million ESPs work in our nation’s public schools and colleges – approximately half million of which are NEA members. NEA President Becky Pringle expressed deep gratitude for all their work to provide the quality public education all students deserve.
“Thank you to all the education support professionals who work so hard to meet all the needs of our country’s students,” Pringle said. “Secretaries, custodians, nutrition workers, bus drivers, paraeducators and other ESPs – I don’t believe we could have made it through the last few years without (you).”