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

Support Staff Conduct Picketing in Lapeer

Education support professionals in Lapeer held an informational picket along Main Street last week to call attention to the fact they are working under an expired contract despite negotiating on a new agreement since last January. The 125 members of Lapeer Education Support Personnel believe their previous sacrifices during challenging financial times for the district should be recognized and compensated now…

Labor Voices
Labor Voices: School support staff are invaluable to education efforts

Much of the tireless work that goes into educating our public school students happens behind the scenes. Michigan’s support staff professionals are the heartbeat that keeps our public schools running. Far too often, they go without thanks or recognition, yet our schools could not operate without them — and this year in particular they’re working extra hard. They make sure…

Lansing Educators: It’s Time to Rally for Public Education

By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor Mariah Gaither MEA member Mariah Gaither had a challenging entry into her teaching career in 2020, having to adapt her secondary science curriculum for remote learners through the full school year in Lansing. Now Gaither is working in-person and getting an eye-opening lesson of her own: she’s discovering how much educators spend out-of-pocket to…

New Laws Go Into Effect to Improve Bus Safety

This month two new laws went into effect aimed at keeping students safer on buses. The first makes it easier to ticket drivers who ignore the red flashing lights and extended stop arm of a school bus, and the second prohibits any unauthorized person from entering a school bus without the driver’s permission. The changes allow school districts to equip buses…

Member Spotlight: Jennifer Shelito

Jennifer Shelito is secretary of the Information Systems department at Tuscola Intermediate School District where she helps to manage a 17-district phone system, internet service for 26 districts, and training on all of that—plus data systems—for educators in the region. She helps people who’ve forgotten login credentials, voicemail pins, and how to get test scores to populate in the gradebook. “When…

Big Changes in Public Service Loan Forgiveness Announced

An overhaul of the broken federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) announced on Wednesday is meant to restore the promise made to educators and other public service employees who have suffered under the program’s 98% rejection rate. Changes include a limited one-year waiver that allows all payments by student borrowers to count toward PSLF, regardless of loan program or…

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…

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