Two ESP members recognized for ‘meeting the needs of the whole student’

ESPdigibookTwo WEAC members – Lynn Goss of Menomonie and Ted Chaudoir of Southern Door – are featured in a new NEA digibook titled “Education Support Professionals: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said the publication, a collaboration with ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), “profiles how our ESP members all over the country are using whole child strategies to keep students healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged so they are ready to learn. ”

“Educating the whole child requires an ecological approach, in which the school draws its resources and influences from the whole community to meet the needs of the whole student.  ESPs can play a crucial role in this approach since they live in the communities where they work and act as a direct conduit between school and community. This digibook illustrates the critical role that ESPs play in educating the whole child and is full of inspiring member stories, informative statistics/infographics, as well as articles by some of the leading experts in the whole child field.”

Chaudoir, a school bus driver and playground supervisor, is featured for his role in implementing the highly successful Books on the Bus program.

chaudoir2_200px“A few years back, I had a very squirmy four-year-old kindergartener on my bus,” wrote Chaudoir, who was Wisconsin’s 2014 nominee for the NEA’s national ESP of the Year award. “I tried different seating arrangements to try to keep him seated, but nothing worked. One day I said, ‘AJ, could you just please take a book out of your backpack and look through it while you’re on the bus?’ He said, ‘I don’t have books in my backpack.’ Well, I checked, and sure enough, they didn’t have books to take home.

“That realization stayed with me because a couple months later, when my wife, Dee wanted me to take our adult daughter Alisha’s children’s books to Goodwill, I had another idea. I thought I’d bring them on the bus and see if my students might want them. And did they ever! I told them that they could keep it if they liked the book. Within a couple weeks, I had found homes for all of Alisha’s books. Well, a week or two later some kids started asking for more books. My wife Dee is also a school bus driver, and we agreed that we needed to get them more books! How could we turn a deaf ear to kids asking for books? …

“Books on the Bus requires someone with a passion for kids, because it will probably always be an unbudgeted program. We do not get compensation for doing this. It is ESPs going above and beyond their job-description to benefit students. It was the collaboration of our union to start funding this project that was key to getting it operating like it is. Now, we have kids donating their own books to the program.”

LynnGoss_200pxGoss, an Instructional Paraeducator at Menomonie Middle School, is active in a program called “What I Need,” based on the concept that different students have different paths to learning, and that sometimes that requires personalized instruction and intervention.

For those students who may need greater levels of support, educators like Lynn are there to help them with their academic challenges.

“No one understands that ‘learning is not a race’ better than Lynn Goss,” said Stacey Everson, principal of Menomonie Middle School. “She has an uncanny intuition, coupled with an enormous knowledge base that empowers her to make a significant difference in the academic lives of students identified for additional time and support.”

Read more about Ted and Lynn and other ESP’s throughout the nation in this digibook.