Update from WEA ESP Representative to the Board: Advocate for Professional Development and Good Policies

Happy New Year! I hope everyone reading this had a restful holiday break and that you are ready to make 2024 an amazing year. Each new year, I take time to reflect on what I want to work on personally and professionally. While I was working on this, a message from NEA popped up about the ESP conference that will occur March 22-24 in Las Vegas. The conference theme is Education, Democracy, Freedom: Our Right, Our Responsibility. I could not have come up with a better goal than this.

Many people will read this and wonder how that could apply to an ESP and why it is our right and responsibility.

Not only do our students deserve high-quality education, but ESPs deserve high-quality training. We can’t succeed in our positions and help students and colleagues without appropriate and relevant training. 

2023 showed us how important democracy and elections are. Many districts are struggling with the effects of school boards and upper administration that do not understand the needs of students and staff, including ESPs. Freedom to be our authentic selves should never be questioned or challenged.

Why are these things our right and responsibility? After all, ESPs are often an afterthought in districts. But that is why it is our right and responsibility! Let’s make 2024 a year that our collective voices create changes for all ESPs. Visit with leaders in your district and seek out training that will be relevant to your position. If there isn’t any available locally, reach out to WEA; many free trainings are available through NEA. Get involved with local elections. People who are elected to represent our school boards and communities can have a significant impact on our work as ESPs. Please don’t convince yourself that your voice doesn’t matter because you are an ESP; it does! You are vital to the success of students and your district. You are a valuable member of your community, and your voice matters.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns that you have. I am here to represent you. Thank you for the work you do. You are appreciated!

Christine Fitzgerald signature

Christine Fitzgerald | WEA ESP Representative | jcatfitz@msn.com