Wyoming Education Association

Spring 22

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After leading her peers and colleagues in a Professional Learning Community, Shasta Rosales believes in the value of NEA's new PLC program for ESPs. "I think taking this PLC micro-credential is an amazing opportunity for all ESPs," Rosales told WEA News. "I am excited that ESP members will be able to obtain a micro-credential to further our professional development and to strengthen our resumes." Rosales s ays the PLC is a groundbreaking, effective way to implement competency-based learning to help ESPs grow in their professions. "I don't believe that ESPs have been able to get the same training and opportunities as teachers," she said. "We need and deserve these opportunities to feel valued in our school environments. PLCs are a great way to ensure all ESPs feel valued, gain a certificate, and implement the ir knowledge to better serve students." Shasta is one of two Wyoming ESPs who opted to lead a Professional Learning Community in completing NEA's micro-credential in cultural competency. To earn the micro-credential, participating ESPs met for eight weekly, one- hour virtual group sessions guided by their WEA ESP leader. L E A R N I N G C O M M U N I T I E S P R O F E S S I O N A L Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for Education Support Professionals offer ESPs the opportunity to earn micro-credentials from NEA, with support from small cohorts led by local facilitators. WEA is one of only five state affiliates currently offering this innovative new program from NEA. WEA News spoke with Albany County Education Association member paraeducator Shasta Rosales about her role as a facilitator for a Professional Learning Community. I think this opportunity is invaluable. The Association may be changing the future of ESPs' involvement in their school communities. Participants also committed up to one additional hour per week to complete PLC- related work. To earn this particular micro- credential in cultural competence, participating members worked on journals, video recordings, and other documentation of ways they incorporate cultural competence into their workplace. "It's important to society right now that our first micro-credential offered to ESPs relates to cultural competency," said Rosales, "as this is one of the most salient issues that is facing our society now. As educators, it is our duty to put aside personal biases and offer the most comprehensive, contemporary, and momentous education possible," she said. "This micro-creden tial helps us do that." Rosales believes that the structure of PLCs will help participants fully understand the material and effectively put the new skills they learn through micro-credentials into practice in their daily work with students. "The format of the PLC is effective," she says. "This is a great way to let ESPs have a voice in change and improve the inclusion of ESPs in professional development. I think this opportunity is invaluable. The Association may be changing the future of ESPs' involvement in their school communities. - Shasta Rosales Micro-credentials are short, competency-based recognitions. NEA offers members a diverse catalog of micro-credentials suitable for classified, certified, and higher education staff in topics ranging from Teacher Leadership to Supporting LGBTQ+ Students and muc h more. WEA members can pursue micro-credentials of their choosing, free of charge, online. Learn more and browse the full catalog of offerings at More About Micro-credentials nea.certificationbank.com 24

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