NEA’s ESP Professional Growth Continuum Offers Support Professionals a Chance to Direct their Own Career Learning
December 10, 2021
December 10, 2021
For too long, delegates to the 2015 NEA convention decided, education support professionals had been overlooked when it came to professional development. ESPs, as vital partners in the success of our public schools, deserve clear pathways to career growth as much as any educator does: After all, one out of every three school employees is a support professional. So, NEA’s ESP Quality Department responded by creating the ESP Professional Growth Continuum, a way that ESPs can plan and direct their own career advancement. And the Continuum isn’t a top-down directive: It was designed based on ESP members’ input and feedback.
The first step in the Continuum’s process of supporting excellence, beginning with career preparation, through entry into the profession, and into a lineup of continuous professional development, was basing content on the nine ESP Career Families NEA had created through earlier analysis of membership numbers:
Next was to incorporate eight universal standards of professionalism:
Within each of the standards, there are also three levels of practice to work your way through: foundational, proficient, and advanced/mastery.
On that foundation, NEA built a system of learning opportunities that come in various forms: online modules, self-directed reflections, coaching, facilitated practices, and links to high-quality resources. NEA can also assist school divisions in annual trainings and certifications such as blood-borne pathogens, emergency response, fire drills, and more. The Continuum can help steer you in the direction of the kind of mentoring that will also be essential to your professional growth.
To get started, identify your career family and then follow the directions in the Continuum to do a self-assessment. From there, you can use the information gained in the assessment to establish some growth goals for yourself, identify some steps you’ll need to take to achieve those goals, and then use the post self-assessment to gauge your progress.
Your road to a growing sense of competence, confidence, and professionalism can be self-directed and taken at your own pace.
You can find the Continuum and start your trip down that road by visiting vea.link/espgrowth.