Recess Aides have a tough job that’s often thankless. But Mitzi Thornton knows nearly every kid at Linden Elementary School—and she gets rewarded in hugs. A recess aide does more than watch the playground, right? Oh, yes. You have to keep an eye out for fights or bloody noses. Name calling. The kids fall; they…Details
Waterford bus driver Becky Lesh tears up discussing her love for her job, and she shares how the MEA transportation unit she leads beat privatization—for now. Isn’t safety becoming even more important in your job? It is. There’s so many distracted drivers, and so many laws have changed for us as drivers. We now have hazard…Details
MEA member bus drivers in West Bloomfield School District began picketing this week to protest stalled bargaining that has left them working without a contract for three months. The drivers, who work for Durham Transportation, say they’re not making extravagant demands of the private company.Details
Rennee Alderman has worn different job titles in Cadillac Area Public Schools – recess aide, paraprofessional, secretary – but for MEA member Heidi Stange the most important role Alderman played over the years is “friend.”
Stange is now an instructional literacy coach for the district, but for many years she was a Title I reading specialist with Alderman tutoring kids alongside her. Children loved Alderman, Stange said, but so did adults—she brightened the lives of everyone with her cheery attitude and habit of calling everyone “Sunshine.”
“We’re providing her some sunshine now,” Stange said.
Alderman was forced to retire after 25 years in the district when a mystery illness zapped her energy and mobility – leaving her in constant pain. She has since been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, but treatments are not covered by insurance – so Stange has organized community fundraisers to rally some help.
Their story is yet another example of union members taking care of each other. Associations across the state routinely come together to take care of their own, as in Algonac, where members raised money and volunteered labor in a Habitat for Humanity home build for a member; and in Adrian where members donated to a union-administered sick day bank to help a new mom whose baby needed open heart surgery.
It wasn’t easy to convince Alderman to accept assistance, because she’s used to being the one caring for others, Stange said. Over the years, Alderman organized countless potlucks and supply drives to help families in need in the community.Details
MEA has launched a new video highlighting the important role education support professionals play in schools across Michigan. The video features MEA education support professional members, like paraprofessionals, bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers, custodians, maintenance workers and others who help kids in our schools achieve and learn. “Education support professionals are a critical part of our…Details
by Brenda Ortega – MEA Voice Editor “Sara” never imagined she could fear a kindergarten student, but the paraeducator from an affluent, high-achieving school district in the eastern part of the state says she was traumatized by routinely being bitten, kicked, and punched by a five-year-old child in class. The classroom aide, who asked not to…Details
A California-based company that uses viral videos to promote kindness, inclusiveness, and gratitude as the core of American cultural values visited a school district in Jackson County to surprise six education support professionals (ESP) with a video shoot in their honor.Details