Guidelines for Program Participants
The ESP Certificate Program is open to any individual who is working in an educational support position for a school in Wisconsin. These positions can include:
- Audio/visual aides
- Custodial/maintenance staff
- Education assistants/paraprofessionals
- Food service employees
- Office/secretarial staff
- Security services personnel
- Technical services personnel
- Transportation employees
- Other support personnel
Individuals who are not currently employed in a support position are also eligible to pursue the Certificate. Although participants do not have to be members of Wisconsin Education Association Council to earn a Certificate, some offerings might be restricted to WEAC members or provided to them at a lower cost.
How to get started
Usually the first question interested support professionals ask is: "Where can I take WEA Academy-approved classes?" There are two primary options:
The WEA Academy office maintains an updated listing of approved courses. The listing is available on OnWEAC, or you call our office for a written list to see if there is a location close to you. If so, call the contact person identified and speak to them about signing up for a class or future classes you would like offered. The program provider takes responsibility for setting up the class, advertising, and corresponding with us about WEA Academy approval and credit hours.
Initiating a program in your area
If you do not find an institution near you that has already put on a class, you can take the initiative to get one started. Here's how:
- Talk with you district administrators/curriculum director/staff development specialist about the interest you and others have in pursuing the ESP Certificate. Some individual school districts are coordinating/offering some or all of the credit hours for the program.
- Contact an agency or institution that might be interested in hosting a class, or series of classes. Examples are local colleges and universities, technical colleges, CESAs or private vendors.
Take note: It might be helpful to keep these things in mind while you work to make ESP courses available in your area:
- Talk with your colleagues and enlist in their interest and support so that your district and/or local institution understands that offering WEA Academy-approved courses is a worthwhile effort.
- Contact the WEA Academy office for assistance in any step of the process.
The success of the Certificate Program depends on the effort of each individual participant. Attention to program policies will ensure that the Certificate is highly valued by school administrators and school boards, and is the type of quality professional development experience that will enhance the careers of Education Support Professionals. To accomplish this, participant responsibilities include the following:
- Verify that sessions are approved for WEA Academy ESP credit hours
- Attend each class for the entire time period scheduled
- Secure a Verification of Hours form from the presenter for each class
- Maintain the Verification of Hours forms (you might want to make an extra copy of each, and keep one at home and one at work)
- Notify the WEA Academy office in writing when you have finished your 40 hours, and send along all Verification of Hours forms
ESP worksheet - level 1
To help you track your progress through the program, use the worksheet available here (pdf).
After you have notified the WEA Academy of finishing your course work, office staff will verify from WEA Academy records that all program obligations have been met. At that point, participants will receive a letter outlining the two options for receiving the Certificate. These options include receiving the Certificate and items noted below in a folder (no charge), or having the Certificate mounted on a plaque and the items provided in a folder (small charge).
Along with the Certificate, participants will receive a congratulatory letter from the WEAC president, a verification letter and transcript for personnel files, approval for a press release, and information on the next level of ESP certification.