Education Support Professionals

Education Support Professionals (ESP)

Educating Michigan’s students requires a team effort by everyone involved in public education, including the thousands of education support professional who are represented by MEA.  School support staff – including paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers and other transportation workers, food service employees, maintenance, skilled trades, and more – are an essential part of making public education work.  Aside from their locals, MEA’s ESP members are represented by the ESP Caucus Board, which works to ensure the needs of school support staff are met by their union.

The Latest:

ESP News

Nominate Education Support Professionals for State Award

Every school community has numerous dedicated employees who spend their day in support of educators and students. Michigan’s Education Support Staff Professional of the Year program exists to honor these outstanding staff members, and nominations for the 2021 award are now open. Those working in educational support staff roles such as transportation workers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, skilled trades staff,…

Paraeducator Secures Classroom Grant for Student Supplies

Fraser special education paraeducator Melanie Motto figured she didn’t have much of a shot at winning a $2,500 classroom grant from a competitive award program, but her students’ needs outweighed her doubts. Motto completed and sent off an application, describing the resource room where she works with teacher Samantha Bartkowicz to support 20 K-6 students in reading, writing, and math…

Gary Cooper
Ann Arbor ESP Member Walks his Talk in College and Second Career

MEA member Gary Cooper could have relaxed after retiring from a 30-year career as an autoworker at Ford Motor Co. Instead his upbringing eventually led the 64-year-old former UAW shop steward to a full-time role as a community assistant at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. The support staff position requires him to wear “quite a few hats” and has…

School bus safety bills pass House

On Tuesday, the State House overwhelmingly passed bipartisan, MEA-supported legislation designed to improve safety on Michigan school busses. Two of the bills, HBs 4201 & 4203, would prohibit unauthorized individuals from entering a school bus without the driver’s permission and allow for notices on busses about the prohibition. HBs 4202 & 4204 aim to prevent drivers from passing stopped busses…

Statewide Awards Given to School Support Professionals

Becky Lesh, a Waterford bus driver who serves as president of her MEA education support professional (ESP) local and vice-chair of the 7E Coordinating Council, has been named the 2021 Leon A. Brunner Award winner for her tireless work fighting privatization efforts and reversing cuts to positions and pay. In her five years as local president, Lesh successfully beat back…

Conference Lifts ESP Voices, Roles, Strength

If knowledge is power, then MEA member Timmery Foster figures she is helping to make a stronger union by attending this year’s ESP Statewide Conference. Not only did the Howell paraeducator spend time attending sessions at the conference for Education Support Professionals – held virtually this year because of the pandemic – but she also is gathering credits toward professional…

Network, Learn, Grow at Statewide ESP Conference

This year, Education Support Professionals have faced unforeseen challenges in every job category as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal life – and their contributions are something to be proud of, says ESP Caucus President Roy Freeman. Now in the wake of that upheaval and change, the MEA ESP Statewide Conference on March 25-27 offers a chance to come together, network,…

Bus Driver Weaves Love into the Job

Julie Ingison MEA member Julie Ingison says the pandemic means children who ride her bus can’t see her smile through the face mask, but she tries to make sure they can hear the smile in her voice when she greets them by name each day. They also can feel her love through the huggable gift she handcrafted for each child…

Nominations sought for ESP Caucus Board

* A mistake in the print magazine wrongly indicates the number of At-Large Director positions which are open for nominations on the ESP Caucus Board. We regret the error. Nominations are being accepted for several positions on the MEA ESP Caucus Executive Board. Open positions are as follows: PRESIDENT: 1 Position – Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2024 VICE-PRESIDENT: …

Jill Wheeler: On Books, Kids, and ESP

Throughout the pandemic, MEA member Jill Wheeler has gone above and beyond to get books to kids, hand-delivering titles to classrooms and sanitizing the returns since students could no longer check them in and out in-person due to safety protocols. Jill Wheeler Much has changed in her role this year as a library aide in Sandusky Community Schools, but some things…

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