Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced bipartisan legislation designating and celebrating the week of April 26 through April 30, 2021, as “National Specialized Instructional Support Personnel Appreciation Week.”
Congresswoman Hayes was also joined in the Senate by Senators Maggie Hassan (NH), Cornyn (TX), Casey (PA), Collins (ME), Ernst (IA), Hoeven (ND), Kaine (VA) and Smith (MN).
“I know firsthand just how important specialized instructional support staff are in a school. It would have been impossible to do my job as a teacher without them,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “We need to invest in making sure schools are capable of handling the unprecedented levels of trauma students have experienced during the pandemic – and that means ensuring schools have robust networks of social workers, school psychologists, occupational therapists, counselors, nurses and more to meet the needs of students and families. As the COVID-19 pandemic strains local budgets and put these critical positions at risk for being cut, now is the time to reaffirm our national commitment to the work of support staff.”
“I am proud to recognize the work of our Nation’s specialized instructional support personnel,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Thanks to the more than 1,000,000 men and women who serve as SISP, this next generation of students will be better prepared for learning and success.”
In addition to teachers, schools are also home to are more than 1,000,000 specialized instructional support personnel across the United States. This includes school counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and more.
These support personnel provide students with prevention and early intervention services that help to reduce barriers to learning. Hayes and her colleagues commend these vital professionals who provide students with critical support at school.
This resolution builds off the Save Education Jobs Act, a bill introduced earlier this year by Congresswoman Hayes to save nearly 4 million education jobs, spur economic growth in the midst of an economic crisis, and help mitigate the impacts of students’ learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding from this bill would go towards saving the jobs of teachers, school leaders, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, librarians, and more from inevitable budget cuts because of the COVID-19 crisis. Local school districts can also use this funding to hire more teachers for specialized instructional support personnel to meet their increased need during the unprecedented transition to hybrid or distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.