After the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Recognizing Achievement in Classified School Employees Act (H.R. 276) by a vote of 387-19 in February, the Senate quickly followed suit with its own unanimous approval in March.
“This recognition is way overdue,” said Debby Chandler, president of the National Council for Education Support Professionals (NCESP), which works within the National Education Association (NEA) to represent the interests and issues of education support professionals (ESP).
It has taken more than a decade of seemingly endless meetings between elected officials in Washington, political appointees from two different presidential administrations, and numerous NEA staff, board members, lobbyists, ESPs and other activists for the bill to get this close to becoming law.
Education Support Professionals
Composed of eleven NEA-NH members, the ESP Committee’s job is to advise the President and Executive Board of ESP concerns and issues. Please let us know what concerns, issues, questions, and information you want us to bring to the governance of NEA-NH. We want to hear from you!
The ESP Committee meets monthly and provides reports to the NEA-NH Executive Board. Contact the Committee by e-mailing or calling our staff liaison, Rachel Hawkinson, at email@example.com or 603-573-6277.
NH Paraprofessionals Come Together to Fight the Stigma of Mental Illness
Too often, students with mental health problems suffer alone. Their struggle with eating disorders, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, anxiety, or depression is in many cases cloaked in silence.
“Because of a stigma attached to mental illness, people are afraid to even discuss it much less ask for help,” says Shannon Fuller, president of the Keene Paraprofessionals Association (KPA) in New Hampshire. This was not something KPA members were willing to allow in their school district or community.
“Our students don’t choose to have mental health problems,” says Fuller, who has been a paraeducator for 18 years, the last four at Symonds Elementary School. “We had to do something.”
FOR ESP’S WHO HAVE BEEN NON-RENEWED
Please be aware that you are eligible to file for Unemployment Compensation on the day after the last day of school. The quicker you file the sooner your unemployment benefits will begin. This can take three to five weeks or more, so do not delay in signing up. This is a relatively new law that NEA-NH was instrumental in getting passed that means that ESP do not have to wait until the start of the next school year before they can collect Unemployment Compensation. ESP who have an individual contract to work the next school year cannot collect during the summer months, because they have the expectation of a job in the fall, but ESP who have been reduced or terminated should file with the State as soon as the school year ends.