Whether they're keeping schools clean and in good repair, providing transportation and nutritious lunches or ensuring school offices and classrooms run smoothly, School-Related Professionals work hard to ensure a safe, quality educational experience for New York's students.
Now, the state has permanently set aside a day each year to acknowledge their important work. This summer, Gov. Spitzer signed into law a bill creating a permanent School-Related Professionals Recognition Day on the state calendar.
Previous SRP Recognition Days were signed only on a year-by-year basis, through the annual work of NYSUT's Division of Legislation.
"The governor's signature on this bill memorializes New York's commitment to some deeply dedicated educators - School-Related Professionals," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi. "Their daily contributions to our students will now be honored annually."
SRP Recognition Day will fall on the third Tuesday of each November, often during American Education Week. This year, SRP Recognition Day will be held Nov. 20.
NYSUT's 90,000 SRP members perform a variety of key roles in schools, working as bus drivers, school nurses, custodians, secretaries, food service workers, teaching assistants and aides and in dozens of other job titles.
"Our members deserve this recognition," said Margie Brumfield of the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals. "The work SRPs do is at the heart of learning and good health in our schools. That is the lesson we should remember all year long." Brumfield chairs NYSUT's SRP Advisory Committee.
The SRP bill was co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, D-Queens, and Sen. James DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse.
"NYSUT appreciates the great legislative support we received on this effort," said Executive Vice President Alan Lubin. "Both houses worked together to make this recognition happen for our members."
Lubin also cited Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, chairwoman of the Assembly's Government Operations Committee, and Sen. Owen Johnson, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, for their work in pushing this legislation forward.
NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue oversees the union's programming for SRPs. "These NYSUT members are often the hidden heroes of our schools," Donahue said. "Honoring their contributions to our students is the right thing to do. We will urge every school district to use this day to celebrate the work of all school employees, both inside and outside the classroom."