Sometimes things really aren’t “too good to be true.”
When New York City teacher Kaitlin Mendez was looking to extend her certification for special education, she stumbled upon NYSUT’s Education & Learning Trust courses during a Google search.
“When I saw ELT offered online graduate courses, with a 40 percent discount, I honestly thought it was too good to be true,” said Mendez, a member of United Federation of Teachers.
However, when she looked into ELT’s 12-credit SUNY Empire State College program, she learned she could extend her certification by taking four courses, completing one three-hour autism workshop and passing the State Education Department’s Content Specialty Test for Students With Disabilities.
“I’ve always wanted to get my certification for Students With Disabilities, but as a busy mom and teacher, I didn’t think it was doable,” Mendez said. “ELT made it possible.” The ELT coursework gave her much more than a second certification. “The courses were really practical and I was able to apply a lot of what I was learning directly in my fourth-grade classroom,” Mendez said. “The Behavior Management course, in particular, gave me new tools, new ideas and new ways to assess my students.”
Herkimer BOCES teacher Greg Crawford similarly found the ELT offerings convenient for earning his special education extension. The format “worked great with my teaching schedule,” he said. “I usually prefer in-person learning, but the instructors were well organized and set clear expectations. It was a lot of fun interacting with other teachers from around the state.”
The special education coursework is among the most popular programs offered by ELT, the union’s professional development arm, to help members get certification extensions. Other graduate level strands include early childhood and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certifications.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said the union is proud to offer a wide array of opportunities through ELT. In most cases, members taking advantage of the ELT discount save more than the NYSUT portion of their union dues.
ELT coursework can be used for undergraduate, graduate and in-service credit as well as to fulfill Continuing Teacher and Leader Education requirements. For more information, go to elt.nysut.org.