Summer 2011 Issue
June 27, 2011

SRPs sharpen skills via ELT

Author: Bernie Mulligan
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Anita Jones, a member of the Albany Public School United Employees, checks out ELT course offerings. Photo by Betsy Sandberg.

Teaching assistants on Long Island — and across the state — are sharpening their professional skills through affordable courses offered by NYSUT.

"Like thousands of their colleagues, these SRPs have experienced firsthand the value of our cutting-edge education programs," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue.

The union's Education and Learning Trust (ELT), a nonprofit professional development organization for NYSUT members, offers graduate and undergraduate courses at various locations throughout the state, affordably priced at $375 for undergraduate and $575 for graduate courses. For more than 30 years, ELT has been focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning to help members advance in their careers.

"ELT programs are modeled on best practices, current research-based strategies, real life applications and on members teaching members," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "Every August, a core group of our most skilled SRPs undergo training to become course presenters so our members receive meaningful offerings."

Due, in part, to instructors' experience with coaching, facilitating and mentoring, ELT programs have become staples for local union leaders, school districts and teacher centers across the state.

For example, teaching assistants from the William Floyd and South Country school districts recently participated in a Cazenovia College course, "Supporting Students in Reading and Writing," which presented them with more than 35 different strategies to help struggling students meet their goals.

"Middle Level Educational Foundations," offered by the College of Saint Rose in Albany, helped Sachem Central assistants gain their Middle Level Certification Extension from the State Education Department.

"This course gave us practical information and different strategies to use in our classrooms," said Sachem CTA member Kristina Palmieri.

"We really gained insights into the intellectual, physical, emotional and social needs of our students," said her colleague, Betsy Reilly.

"This union program is affordable, professional and convenient for thousands of members," said Cathy Reinth, the SRP ELT Coordinator for Long Island and a member of NYSUT's Board of Directors. "It's a program that works for school professionals committed to student success."