September/October 2021 Issue
August 22, 2021

ELT courses offer flexibility, value to NYSUT members

Author: Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United

The drive from Vestal, NY, to Long Island is over four hours and the best route is a “shortcut” through Scranton, PA, and Hackensack, NJ.

For Connie Kretz, Chenango Forks Teachers Association, the distance would have made taking a class with Patricia Burr-Peters, a NYSUT Education & Learning Trust instructor based in Freeport, Nassau County, impossible.

But thanks to the many online learning opportunities available through ELT, she had “an amazing experience” and is well on her way to earning her Students With Disabilities certification through SUNY Empire State College.

“I never knew ELT existed until I emailed (NYSUT staffer Glenn Jeffers) about becoming certified in special education,” said Kretz, a second grade reading and math intervention teacher, who has since taken the four courses needed for her certification through ELT and plans to take the required tests for the credential in upcoming months.

“My instructor Trish Burr went above and beyond,” said Kretz. “I learned an incredible amount of information from her that I will carry with me from now on.”

Kretz enjoyed learning virtually with educators from across the state.

“They had different perspectives and new ideas I could implement in my classroom,” she said.

Her summer class met via Zoom.

Additional out-of-class assignments used the Google Classroom platform and culminated with a final portfolio. A class Kretz attended during the school year lasted nine days, running 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. during the workweek and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend. Other coursework included breakout discussion rooms, group projects and nightly reflection prompts.

While the convenience and quality of the courses was great, Kretz also appreciated the cost. “Because I’m a NYSUT member, I got a 40 percent tuition discount,” she explained. “I’ve been telling everyone about ELT.”

“We’re proud to offer this valuable service to our members,” said Jolene DiBrango, NYSUT executive vice president. “Our coursework is taught by the most respected and knowledgeable educators throughout New York state; for more than 40 years, NYSUT ELT has offered an array of research-based, practical programs to help members hone their craft.”

ELT offers affordable, flexible and research-based programming, both onsite and online, for teachers, School-Related Professionals and members of the health care community. ELT coursework can be used for undergraduate, graduate and in-service credit. ELT courses and seminars can also be used to fulfill Continuing Teacher and Leader Education requirements.

To learn more, visit