Education Support Professionals

ESP of the Year Award

Nominations are now open for 2024. Deadline: Dec. 15, 2023.


Raising Education Support Professionals by Elevating Careers Together is a statewide effort by ESPs, with the support of IEA staff, to improve working conditions.

About ESPs

The 510,000 Educational Support Professional members of the National Education Association and the 29,500 ESP members of the Illinois Education Association take care of our children every day and make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in our schools and classrooms. We are truly the unsung heroes of public education.


The ESP Council created the ESP STAR program to allow IEA local leaders, members and board of directors to recognize and publicize the good work of their ESP members across the state.

NEA ESP of the Year Speaker Request Form

Request the NEA ESP of the Year to speak at your event.

ESP Bargaining Resources

Resources related to bargaining for use by ESP Leaders.

Privatization/Subcontracting and The Law

In 2007, the Illinois Education Association achieved a major victory in providing job protection for all ESP employees. Read the exact text of Public Act 095-0241 introduced as House Bill 1347.

ESP Organizing Toolkit

Ultimately we seek to build power to make change. In this toolkit, we will cover the critical elements of organizing.

Insider Newsletter Archive

Education Support Professionals archive of the monthly email newsletter.

ESP Council

ESP Council Website

Website for the Education Support Professional Council. Visit for the latest information and updates.

ESP Council Roundtables

View the latest recorded meeting.

ESP Council List

The Education Support Professional Council consists of thirteen (13) people all of whom are ESP school employees and members of the Illinois Education Association.

Request ESP Council Members to Attend Meeting Form

Bring ESP Council members to your next meeting.  Presidents, Region Chairs, and members can now invite members of the ESP Council to your local or regional meetings by using this request form.

Professional Growth and Mentoring

2023 ESP Spring Skills Training Series

The Education Support Professional skills training workshops are targeted one-hour conversations designed to help ESPs develop specific union and/or job-related skills; in order to facilitate conversations and create a unique personalized experience, each session is limited to a maximum of ten participants.  Each conversation will be held on ZOOM.   All ESP members are encouraged and invited to participate.

Learning Portal

The IEA strives to offer you free, high-quality online professional development that fits your needs and is available on-demand to fit your changing schedule. View these ESP specific courses.

321 Insight

ParaSharp online professional development builds confidence, improves effectiveness, and increases job satisfaction. With easy-to-use videos, interactive discussions, planning and tracking tools and more, this program helps paraeducators feel supported and skilled. Instructions | Flier

ESP Mentoring

ESP Mentoring is also known as Peer Assistance. Peer assistance programs help ESP help ESP. In peer programs, experienced, highly accomplished veteran ESP provide sustained, intensive assistance to ESP who need assistance.

Contact Us

Arlene Criglar
ESP Program Paraprofessional

Contact the ESP Program

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

ESP Trainings
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