Give Esp Due Credit


March 29, 1992

From: Peggie W. Critzer

Bel Air

Each time I read an article or a letter pertaining to the public school system in Harford County, included is this (or a similar) listregarding those involved in the system: teachers, administrators, parents.

While I acknowledge the involvement of all these branches of our educational system, I also know there is another important element that makes our system work -- without it the system could come toa screeching halt. Call them "Educational Support Personnel -- ESP."

Because these employees are the lowest paid on the school system's salary -- beginning salary for an instructional assistant is $10,049; after 15 years' service, it's $13,968, -- the feeling is likened to that of a step-child.

If you are the parent of a school-aged child, consider:

1. If your child rides the school bus, who is the first school system employee who cares for your child in the course of the school day?

2. If your child enjoys a school-prepared breakfast or lunch, who are the people responsible for "putting the food on the table?"

3. Should you need to contact the school (or any of theschool system's central offices) during the course of the school day, who is the person who greets you, listens to you, gives you answers, or reroutes your call?

4. If your child begins to feel ill during the school day, who sees him/her, must make a judgment call as to the seriousness of the illness, and makes sure that the child receivesinitial treatment?

5. Who sweeps up the mess, empties the trash cans, washes windows, polishes floors, cleans up litter in and outsidethe buildings, mows the lawns, etc.?

6. Who helps your child learn to swim? Or gives valuable instruction in the media center?

7. Who assists your child in many classroom endeavors, especially if yourchild is of elementary school age or in a special education or resource program?

If you answered bus driver, food services worker, secretary, nurse, custodian, swimming technician, media center technician, and instructional assistant, you know your school system well.

The ESP are an integral part of the "team" that educates children.

Please don't treat us as an afterthought. We are not step-children of the system.

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