By now you've met a lot of new people-teachers, parents, administrators-but if you haven't taken the time to meet the educational support professionals (ESP) in your building and in your district, you are doing yourself a disservice. ESP are our greatest allies for public education. Custodians, food service employees, bus drivers, secretaries, paraeducators and security guards have as great an impact on children as teachers do.
- Many times ESP are the first adults a child sees each day (Yes, even before they get to you.)
- ESP usually have the most comprehensive knowledge of the community. Seventy-five percent of ESP live in the school district in which they work. If you're looking for a community resource to help with a lesson, check with your ESP colleagues.
- This group of professionals probably knows more about school traditions and district history than you do. If you're thinking of changing one of those traditions, check with ESP colleagues and they can tell you what the reaction will be from the school district and the community.
- Our NJEA ESP members are on the front lines, too, just like you. They can offer valuable information on safety, nutrition and health issues. Since they live in the community and know many of the students and their parents, you might want to consider asking for background information and advice.