new Today Express

educators protest for better pay

How the Women of #RedforEd are Closing the Pay Gap

“It’s no longer enough to get a small paycheck, but big rewards….Watching women be devalued—in the workplace and in the political realm—has pushed us to speak.”

5 trends in education

Five Trends in Education to Watch This Year

For experienced educators, the school year ahead will be familiar territory—or will it? See what’s emerging as hot issues in education.


paraeducator reflects on her job

The Paraeducator Perspective

How do you build a good foundation with the other educator in your classroom? A veteran paraeducator shares her wisdom.


Student at computer

Is Personalized Learning Losing its Luster?

“Public school educators do not need businessmen to tell them how to educate, nurture, and innovate.”


Protest again family separation

When ICE Raids Your School

We answer the most common questions educators are asking about ICE raids and supporting immigrant youth.


Smiling educator

Your Resolution for the New School Year

Don’t just think about how you are going to teach, but what you are going to learn.


LGBTQ student

Creating Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students

With little progress at the national or state level, students and educators are making sure something is being done in their school districts to protect LGBTQ rights.



ESP Insider

Registration is open for the IEA One Conference!
Join your fellow ESPs in Oak Brook
Oct. 4–5
DoubleTree by Hilton, 1909 Spring Rd., Oak Brook

Registration fee: $20 per registrant, prior to the event; $30 onsite. The deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 20.
Conference Registration
Room Reservation
Save the date!
Nov. 1-3

IEA Professional Development Center, Springfield

IEA funding available! Scholarship applications are due by Sept. 16.
The ESP Council created the ESP STAR program to allow local leaders to recognize and publicize the good work of their ESP members across the state.

Use the online nomination form to nominate a special ESP member for a STAR Award!

IMRF Trustee election
We need your help to circulate nominating petitions for IEA member Natalie Copper to ensure she can continue to represent our education support professionals (ESPs) on the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Board of Trustees.

Download the nominating petition and circulation instructions. Only ACTIVE ESPs may sign the nominating petition.

Natalie (Region 41) is a member of the Evanston Child Care Workers Education Association and works as the site-coordinator at the Before and After School Childcare program in District 65. She is a member of the IEA ESP Council.

ESP member news
Grant Award Agreement
NEA Center for Great Public Schools
State‐Local Project Grant

Affiliate name: District U‐46 Secretarial Association (IL)
Purpose: Secretary Mentoring Program
Award amount: $10,000.00
Term: 1 year (End date: June 30)

Jessica, Carri and Caitlyn are pictured in far right with colleagues from other NEA ESP affiliates at NEA headquarters.

In December 2018, Caitlyn VanDame, Carri Bonine and Jessica Leatherby of the District U-46 Secretarial Association (DUSA) from Elgin, participated in the NEA ESP Mentoring Training Program at NEA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to Illinois, the group shared their learning with local and region representatives and began working on enhancing the bare bones mentoring program that had been developed with the school district. This included applying for an NEA grant to help continue this important work.

The local will use the grant money to seed a more rigorous and skilled mentor program.

Tina Pizzitola and Sara Moeller are paraeducators in Elgin’s U-46 School District. Watch the video: Paraeducators seek recognition with teachers
News from NEA
The NEA RA has formally adopted the term “educators” to cover all members regardless of job categories. Read the new preamble language.
IEA Member Mary Ann Rivera was elected as a member of the NEA Board of Directors.
Rivera is a paraeducator at Lyons Township High School in La Grange and an ESP Council  member.
Want to know what else happened at the NEA-RA this year? Read the final RA Today for a summary of the NEA business items.
Professional and leadership development
NEA ESP Leadership Institute (ESPLI) is a powerful leadership development program, grounded in diversity, equity and cultural competence. Find more information on the NEA website. Deadline to apply is Sept. 13.
Professional development and training opportunities
Check out the list of professional development trainings and webinars being offered this fall.

VideoMaking a difference everyday

ESP Council meetings/assemblies
All ESPs are welcome!
Save these dates and plan to attend an ESP meeting and assembly at an IEA office near you:

  • Nov. 9 – Peoria
  • Feb. 8 – Matteson
  • April 18 – Sterling
  • June 13 – Edwardsville
Minooka office membership kickoff
On Aug. 5, a fabulous group of members attended a membership kickoff hosted at the IEA Minooka office! They spent their day honing their skills to better represent their members.

Topics covered were: Members benefits, getting to know legal, membership processing, IEA communication tools and tricks, IEA elections, tips for starting the year, TRS, IMRF and financial procedures. NEA and IEA staff presented multiple topics and we were honored to have members from area locals present, as well. ESP Council members Patricia Hendrix, Special Education Employees of Grundy County, and Jill Scarcelli, Troy Education Association, were two of the presenters. Also presenting were certified members Jen Silverman, Troy Education Association, and Megan Krull, Braceville Education Association.

#Nosummersoff  #StrongerUnited  #rESPect

Member benefits
Take a look at all the benefits available to members on the IEA website!

Log in to Members Only and access your discounts and deals today!

IEA Connect is here to help! 
Monday –Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Chat, email or call.

new Today Express

educators protesting to increase funding

Who’s on Your Side When It Comes to Pay? Parents.

A new poll illustrates how closely parents, educators, and the public are aligned behind the urgent need to reinvest in our schools.

Rebeckah Reed

Addict-Turned-Educator Promotes National Health Education Standards

Rebeckah Reed Young is joining the crusade to prevent drug abuse and keep students from falling into the pit of addiction.


Saul Ramos

Education Support Professionals in the International Spotlight

NEA educators join their colleagues around the world to support the rights and status of ESPs at the Education International World Congress.


Parents meet with educators at home

The Eight Ps of Parent Engagement

A simple guide to parent outreach for educators and their schools.


Bull horn drawn on chalkboard

Union Power in Florida Leads to Mental Health Win for Students

Florida Poly administrators fired the only on-campus counselor for her union activities. Now they have to hire her back.


check mark in box

The Educator-Activist’s To-Do List

We know you’re busy, but we also know you want to do what’s best for your students. Our checklist can help you easily advocate for them and your profession through the upcoming school year and beyond.


Works4Me: Ideas and Tips By Teachers, For Teachers

NEA Back to School Guide

Check out our roundup of the best educator-tested tips, advice, and resources for a successful start to the school year.

Important News

Important Announcement

We are happy to announce that we are donating backpacks stuffed with needed school supplies to all 17 Elementary Schools. Each school is to receive 2 backpacks stuffed with items such as folders, notebooks, pencils, ink pens, scissors and other needed goodies. The building administration will decide which students receive these donations. We felt this was a good way to support our community. Please feel proud that your union is helping those who can use these welcome items!!