The opportunities of ESSA will only become real if educators lead implementation. Take steps now to build a strong ESSA team from your local, so when the district forms its ESSA stakeholder group (as required by ESSA), your members can be included and make their voices heard.
I didn't realize that it was imperative that districts form its ESSA Stakeholder Group, and I'm wondering how our Union membership think that's best done with regard to teacher membership in the group. Earlier, in a past post, I noted that ESSA considers the following educators to be stakeholders:
This led me to look up the definition of paraeducator and education support professional (ESP):
Via this link I found the definition for paraeducator, "A Paraeducator is defined as a school employee who works under the supervison of teachers or other professional practitioners. Their jobs are instructional in nature and they provide other direct services to children and youth and their families."
I found the following definition for Education Support Professional on the Nebraska State Educational Association website, "We are the secretaries, paraeducators, food service personnel, custodians, bus drivers, maintenance employees, mechanics, sign language interpreters, security personnel and technical services employees working in the Nebraska public schools. We are there to assist our teaching colleagues to ensure that Nebraska's schools are safe, efficient and healthy for Nebraska's students." So it seems that Education Support Professionals (ESPs encompass many roles.
From my reading so far, it seems as it ESSA will strengthen the roles and support of ESPs and paraeducators which is a positive step.
HERE’S HOW TO BUILD YOUR LOCAL’S ESSA TEAM SO YOUR LOCAL CAN LEAD THE WAY ON ESSA IMPLEMENTATION:
Inform and engage your members
Reach out to members with information and resources from NEA and other organizations here and here. By writing these posts I have something to share and look back on as our membership moves forward with ESSA
Identify your members’ issue and activity interests using ESSA commitment cards and issue survey. I want to take a look at these resources mentioned.
Hold ESSA mini-briefings at school and/or community sites.I want to connect with the local Union with regard to this.
Invite existing member-leaders to join Local ESSA Team and to help identify and invite new leaders to participate. Connect member-leaders to each other through ESSA Implementation Group on NEA’s edCommunities.
Cultivate leadership. Recruit new member-leaders to participate in your Local’s ESSA Team with special focus on early career educators, diversity, practitioner leaders.It would be good to begin notifying our membership about this invitation during the summer or early in the school year.
Convene Your Local ESSA Team
Determine priority issue interests. Use issue list from NEA’s ESSA implementation webpage, ESSA commitment cards, survey, or create your own list. Again, these may be resources our Union will want to use to forward our work for teachers.
Identify other community allies to partner with. We will want to make other stakeholders aware of what we are learning about ESSA and how it can benefit our school system.
Claim your Community’s ESSA Implementation Space
Send letter to district and school board requesting ESSA implementation meeting. I will consult with my local Union about this.