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Celebrating the Work of ESPs in Our Schools

Education Support Professionals (ESPs) make up one-third of the entire education workforce, and our schools could not run without them. We want to make sure ESPs know just how much we appreciate them! Every May, California ESP Day celebrates the work of ESPs in our schools with a special dedicated theme. 

Feed the Need

Education Support Professionals meet our students’ needs on so many levels. Shouldn't we care if they can meet their own? ESP deserve a living wage.

Posted by NEA Today on Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ideas to Celebrate ESP Day 

All year long, education support professionals keep schools running efficiently and effectively. Now it is time to celebrate their hard work, long hours and dedication. Consider planning something that reflects your colleagues’ personalities and celebrates what school support staff do.

Here are a few ideas to show your ESPs how much you care:

Hang up posters and give thank you cards

Food!
Providing a breakfast and/or lunch for the ESPs in your building is a great way to show your appreciation. You can also say “thank you” by bringing an ESP some homemade treats as well.

Be an ESP for the day
Do you truly understand the work that an ESP does? Show your support and admiration for ESPs by asking to experience the school day as an ESP. Even if it is only for a small amount of time, it will be a learning experience.

Donating to charity
Donating to an ESP’s favorite charity is a nice way to say “thank you” while helping the community. Organizations will often provide a card saying that a donation has been made in someone’s name.

Gift cards
Providing a gift card to a favorite clothing, restaurant, movie theatre or bookstore shows you have given thought about an ESP’s interests and allows them to pick an ideal gift. If you aren’t sure which store an ESP favors, provide a gift card to a local mall, Target, or prepaid VISA card that can be used anywhere.

Spa treatment
Relaxing should be part of everyone’s day, and for some, massages, facials, or a manicure/pedicure is a great way to do some self-care. Ask your co-workers to chip in and surprise an ESP with some pampering.

Advocating for a living wage increase
ESPs deserve a living wage. Recommending a wage increase to a principal or district administrator is one very important way to show support for ESPs.

Create a news release
Let your community know about the day and any activities you have planned. 

Send a story to a reporter
Send a story about your ESP members, or photos of recognition events to your local news media and bloggers. The story may get picked up.

Write a letter to the editor
See sample here

Invite a local newspaper reporter, writer, TV/radio news personality
Invite local news media to spend a day working as an ESP and then report about what it was like doing the job 

Contact your local radio station
Ask about airing a PSA about ESPs or play an hour of songs mentioning ESPs or schools in the lyrics and remind them to thank a school support staff person – custodian, bus driver, nurse, counselor, kitchen staffer or paraprofessional.

Share on social media
Social media is a great way to provide information and awareness about ESP. Using the hashtags #CaliforniaESP and #WeLoveOurESPs gets the message out there. Ask an ESP if they’re willing to do a short video interview with you to share about their role at your school. Tweet about why you (and your colleagues) are thankful for the ESPs at your school. 

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