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The LearnUFT program, which offers members a low-cost opportunity to participate in professional learning while earning Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, has now fully expanded to the union’s five borough offices.
The UFT launched LearnUFT in 2017 after the New York State Board of Regents adopted new certification regulations in 2016. The regulations require all teachers who hold professional certificates and paraprofessionals who hold Level III teaching assistant certificates to collect and track 100 state-approved professional development hours in five-year cycles.
An authorized CTLE provider, the UFT is committed to maintaining the records of its course participants so that members can easily provide proof of these CTLE hours if the state audits them.
“LearnUFT courses are designed to support our members by meeting their need for professional learning that’s relevant to their work in the classroom,” said UFT Vice President for Education Evelyn DeJesus.
In addition to its borough office offerings, LearnUFT offers courses tailored to new teachers, paraprofessionals and elementary, middle and high school teachers.
Many of LearnUFT’s trained instructors are teachers and UFT members. At the UFT’s Queens borough office on Jan. 8, Ora Verstandig was leading a session called “Vocabulary Instruction in the ELL Classroom.” Verstandig is an English as a New Language teacher and the UFT Teacher Center coordinator at Francis Lewis HS in Fresh Meadows.
“People need these hours and there’s definitely a demand for it,” she said. “This is a course I give in my school all the time, so it was a natural fit.”
Participants in Verstandig’s LearnUFT course were given the opportunity to practice identifying vocabulary words to incorporate into their instruction for English language learners and left the class with a list of helpful resources to use in their classrooms.
“It’s always good to know new strategies, and I found it helpful,” said Suleman Choudhury, a science teacher at Cardozo HS in Bayside.
Down the hall, a course designed specifically for paraprofessionals on specially designed instruction for students with special needs was completely full. Supti Paul, a paraprofessional at the HS for Law and Public Service in Washington Heights who lives in Queens, said she appreciated having options for where and when to take LearnUFT courses.
“Next month, I will go to the sessions in Brooklyn, so I can earn four hours on a Saturday and not have to rush from school,” she said.
LearnUFT courses, which are typically two hours long, are offered both after school and on weekends. You can browse the complete course listings and register online.
Where would you most like to take students on a spring field trip?
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Alley Pond Environmental Center
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Total votes: 109