If you’ve been around education, it’s likely you’ve heard the acronym ESP in conversations. In this context, ESP is not referring to a sixth sense. It’s not related to the sports network ESPN, either.
In the education world, ESPs are all of the non-licensed employees who help students, teachers and administrators succeed at school. The acronym is short for Education Support Professionals. You know them as bus drivers, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, plumbers, electricians, IT personnel, nutrition staff, teachers aides, HR employees and so forth.
Canyons employees around 4,400 ESPs, who help the District click while performing a labor of love.
“Our ESPs, they are here. They are dedicated, they’re loyal, they’re working their hearts out,” said Everett Perry, CSD’s HR Administrator over ESPs. “They’re helping these kids.”
Perry has been with Canyons before it officially opened in 2009. He was the 23rd employee hired by the fledgling school district, which has blossomed since becoming the first new District in Utah in nearly a century. Perry’s job now involves hiring ESPs and helping to enhance their work experiences to assist our teachers in helping students become college- and career-ready by graduation.
Canyons District is home to some of Utah’s top Education Support Professionals. Earlier this month, Diamond Ridge High head secretary Suzanne Hales was honored by the Utah Governor’s Office with the 2022-2023 U-RISE Award. This honor is for up to two outstanding Education Support Professionals in Utah annually. Hales will represent the state as a nominee for the U.S. Department of Education’s national RISE award.
Debra Ward-Mitchell, the 2022 NEA ESP of the Year, said it well on behalf of ESPs everywhere: “As paraeducators, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, and other ESPs, we give our all. We give our all in service to our fellow educators, students, and our communities.”
In this week’s episode of Connect Canyons, Perry shared a message of gratitude to ESPs leading up to the nationwide Education Support Professionals Day on Wednesday, Nov. 16. CSD’s ESPs will receive treats from the District’s Nutrition Department as a token of appreciation.
“Thank you for you all that you do,” Perry said. “We recognize that we can’t function without you. We want to give you a true shoutout and good applause.”
The Canyons Board of Education also made a resolution in honor of the District’s ESPs, which was shared during Tuesday’s Board meeting.
“Whereas, as part of American Education Week, a National Education Support Personnel Day has been celebrated since 1987 ; and
“Whereas, a 2020 House Concurrent Resolution approved during the General Session of the Utah Legislature designated the Wednesday during the week that precedes the Thanksgiving holiday as "Utah Education Support Professionals Day;” and
“Whereas, the day honors the contributions Education Support Professionals play in creating and maintaining clean, secure, prepared, and welcoming public schools for every Canyons student; and
“Whereas, Education Support Professionals in Canyons District have been at the forefront of ensuring schools remained operational, even during the upheaval of a worldwide pandemic with vast local implications; and
“Whereas, Canyons District joins in celebrating National Education Support Professional Day on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, and honors the endeavors undertaken by CSD’s Information Technology professionals, custodians, administrative assistants, office staff, business managers, instructional aides, bus drivers, nutrition service workers, school nurses, maintenance workers, and so many others; and
“Now, therefore, I, Nancy Tingey, speaking on behalf of the Canyons Board of Education, recognize Nov. 16, 2022 as Education Support Professionals Day, and acknowledge the importance of the work done by Education Support Professionals in Canyons School District.”
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