NYSUT's School-Related Professionals Advisory Committee is test-piloting a branding and image campaign — "SRPs Make a Difference" — to remind voters as they prepare to cast ballots on their school district's spending plans how much SRPs contribute to a child's education.
The pilot is being rolled out to coincide with the lead up to the May 15 school budget votes.
More than 80 percent of teaching assistants in the Harborfields Central School District on Long Island live and work within the community, said Annie McClintock, president of the United Teaching Assistants of Harborfields.
"We have a deep interest in any and all challenges our district and community face," she added. "[The campaign] is a great way to share the positive differences we have made."
NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, whose office oversees SRP issues for the union, said the pilot program is in direct response to NYSUT members' desire to be more visible in their communities. as well as to support their schools.
NYSUT SRP Coordinator Margaret MacCartney unveiled the program to members of the SRP Advisory Committee during a two-hour workshop at NYSUT headquarters.
The campaign allows SRP units to personalize their materials and illustrate how members are an integral part of their communities. It includes the fact that SRPs not only work in the school district, they often live there, pay taxes there and vote there.
The tool kit has several ready-to-personalize fliers, a strategic planning and implementation component, sample news releases and a step-by-step timeline.
At the workshop, SRP leaders learned how to choose visuals and to create effective, targeted messaging, including strategies to disseminate messages to their community stakeholders — school board members, parents and the community at large.
With feedback from the pilot program participants, NYSUT staff will refine the tool kit and make it available online to all SRP leaders in the early fall.
"I want to get the fliers going and get them out to all the SRPs in the district," said SRP Advisory Committee Chairperson Karen Arthmann, president of the Rush-Henrietta Employees' Association. She wants to customize the fliers for each of the SRP groups in her district, which has nearly 500 SRPs serving 10 schools.