Public Education, and in particular Educators, are part of my heritage. I'm the daughter of a teacher, the granddaughter of teachers, niece of teachers. My kids attend public school (I even go to school, did you know that?). Naturally, when I was invited to attend an event in November for American Education Week, I jumped at the chance.
November 19th was Education Support Professionals Day. ESPs are those who we see at schools in other capacities than in front of a classroom of students, those who are critical for the success of students. Teacher aides, secretaries, janitors, food service workers, bus drivers -- their roles are integral to having a school run well, and November 19th was the day to let them know their hard work hasn't gone unnoticed.
At Odyssey Elementary School in Woods Cross, I met up with Christiana Campos from the National Education Association (NEA). She introduced me to NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and KUED's Mary Dickson. Together, we visited with the women who work in the cafeteria (and who told us they're not offended by being referred to as Lunch Ladies). We washed up, and put on hair nets (yes, really) and gloves, and got to work.
It was taco day, lucky kids. I hope they liked what we made for them.
The women we met in that cafeteria are very smart and hard-working, and I think any of us would be lucky to have our kids eat what they were preparing. I don't think I've ever seen an elementary school cafeteria with such a colorful variety of healthy food available in a salad bar-type setting.
The school itself is wonderfully functional, with a commons area that turns into the cafeteria when needed with portable tables.
Celebrating ESPs reminded me of how grateful I am for the teachers and leaders in my kids' lives. My brother's wife was fundamental in helping to teach my oldest child how to read. At that time, over eleven years ago, my brother's wife wasn't even my brother's wife yet...but she was an Education Support Professional at a local elementary school.
What are some of your favorite memories of, or experiences with, ESPs?
For more on events from this year's American Education Week, check the hashtag #aew2014.