Arizona Education Association

Fall 2015

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14 Fall 2015 | AEA Advocate Improving Schools: why Do You Do what You Do? By Sean Slade ESP Action Be sure to check out these other stories for more opportunities to get involved and take action. 7 Take Action: AZ Pay Your Bills! 17 This Is Your AEA 40 Education support Professionals Day ESProfessional We are all part of the school community and we all serve the whole child. Ask yourself—whatever your role in your school is—why do you do what you do? Why do you work where you work? Why do you make sure that the kids are treated well, encouraged, noticed, and cared for? Every adult in the school community plays a role in creating, bolstering, reinforcing, and strengthening the school environment. Every interaction with a child matters and influences how that child feels, acts, and responds. As James Comer, founder of the acclaimed Comer school Development Program and an AsCD (Association for supervision and Curriculum Development) Whole Child Commissioner, says, "With every interaction in a school, we are either building community or destroying it." This means that with every interaction we help create and form the climate and culture of the school. We all help determine whether or not it's a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment for learning. Whether we are principals, instructional coaches, physics teachers, custodians, security officers, or paraeducators, very few of us can be fully defined by our official titles. What we do every day and why we do it expands outside our job descriptions because we care about kids and we see ourselves as part of the bigger picture. At its recent annual conference for education support professionals (EsPs) in New Orleans, the National Education Association released Education support Professionals: Meeting the Needs of the Whole student. This free digibook is based on the AsCD Whole Child framework and tenets and highlights the broadening roles that EsPs engage in every day to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The more we view ourselves and others across the school community as part of a network that is "locked into a conspiracy to make certain that I grew up to be a responsible, contributing citizen (James Comer)" the better we are able to understand the influence and affect we have on children. Education is a vast profession and we all play a part in its success, whatever our official roles may be. so, the next time someone asks you what you do, don't just answer with your title. Think about what you do, who you serve, and how you support them. Are you a teacher or mentor? Are you a custodian or part of a support network? Are you a school nurse, a principal, a specialist, or a food service manager? Are you the one responsible adult for a child, a connection to the broader society, an adviser, or a caregiver? Download the digibook and see examples of how school support staff like you help increase the odds that children succeed. sean slade is the Director of Whole Child Programs at AsCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. He is the co-author of school Climate Change: How do I build a positive environment for learning? (AsCD, 2014), a social Development expert for the NBC Parent Toolkit, and host of the Whole Child symposium. Download NEA's ESP Digibook at ESP_Digibook n This piece originally appeared on the AsCD Inservice blog at

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