Class size of 1 for award-winning teacher assistant
East Providence teacher assistant Kristin Chase is the NEARI 2015 ESP of the Year. Chase works as a “one-to-one” assistant with a special needs student whom she helped successfully transition from elementary to middle school. Beyond the classroom, she is a life skills coach for this student, as well as a resource for her family.
There's a special bond between the two
Chase and her student Alicia are like family. They have been together for four years – since Alicia started fourth grade – and Chase can follow her through high school, if she wishes. Chase modifies instruction for her, and helps her with life skills such as socialization, money management, safety, and independence.
Alicia is only her second student since she became a teacher assistant. “One-to-one assignments have been good for me,” Chase says. “I get so excited when I see my students progressing!"
It also takes union activism to win this award. Chase is president of her local union, the East Providence Teacher Assistants, K-12 ESP vice president for NEARI, and chair of NEARI ESP Caucus. She strives to actively engage her members at the local and state level by involving them in both professional and union programs. Caucus activities include participation in projects such as Read Across America and the ESP Day dinner and auction. Nationally, Chase completed the ESP Future Leaders program, and was invited to become a part of NEA’s continued outreach to new leaders.
The state ESP of the Year Award is modeled after the national NEA version, for which Chase was nominated. It recognizes the contributions of education support professionals to their schools, communities, and profession. The winner must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and reflect the contributions of ESP to public education in these five areas: professional practice, member advocacy, community engagement, personal achievement, and enhancement of ESP image.