The Central New York School-Related Professionals Council Spring Fling welcomed SRPs from across the area to the Syracuse Regional Office for a day of training and networking.
The annual fling, held this year in April, is the council’s signature annual event, and it continues to be an important way to recruit new members and keep existing members engaged, said Mary Anne Hall, council president and vice president for the United Liverpool Faculty Association – Teachers Assistants of Liverpool.
“It’s become almost the definition of the council. It stands for who we are and what we do,” Hall said.
The CNY SRP Council is the only such council in operation in New York, Hall said, but members say the benefits are numerous. “The purpose really is to be an opportunity for locals to come together to discuss their common needs and share strategies,” said Hall. The council is composed of members from four counties, who come together regularly to pool their knowledge and show members how to take full advantage of their local union.
Members are also introduced to NYSUT resources, including Member Benefits and Education & Learning Trust, so they can grow in their profession.
The council also tries to tackle challenges seen across SRP titles, including pay inequity and lack of respect for the profession. They also compare contracts and prepare SRPs to take a more active role in their local.
Recently, pay inequality between districts and between regions has created a lot of movement for SRPs. “SRPs are going to where the pay is better, and it creates a domino effect,” Hall said. By working toward consistent wages across regions, the council is hoping to create more stability for its members.
SRPs are also dealing with increasingly challenging behaviors from students, and to correct it, they need more professional development opportunities and better communication across teams. “It really is a combination of both,” Hall said. “There has to be that sharing of information — sharing the IEP and the triggers for that particular student —but professional development is also essential.” During the Fling, SRPs talked about how to advocate for more appropriate training.
Other workshops featured included “Using Mindfulness to Combat Burnout,” “Negotiations” and “Strategic Planning for Engagement.”