The UFT has forged partnerships with CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies and Monroe College to provide affordable professional learning opportunities for mid-career teachers seeking credits toward their 30-plus differential.
Both college programs are fully remote, given the pandemic, and will have new sessions in which students can enroll starting in January.
CUNY’s Advanced Certificate in Community Leadership is geared to teachers working in large urban school districts. With courses on topics such as community organization and work, culture and politics in New York City, the program provides a history and understanding of teaching in diverse urban communities.
Members can earn 12 credits toward their 30 and above and an Advanced Certificate in Community Leadership by taking four three-credit courses. Those 12 credits also count toward a 30-credit master’s degree in Urban Studies at CUNY if the member continues.
Monroe College is offering nine credits for fully online courses in special education, a shortage area in New York City. These college credits can be used toward the non-A+ credit requirements for the 30-plus differential.
Pamela DellaPorta, the vice president of corporate and community outreach at Monroe College, said Monroe has a long history of supporting adult learners. She said UFT members will be able to attend classes together if enough of them sign up. That kind of cohort offers “a real bonding experience,” she said. “They all know each other and pull each other through.”
Members interested in Monroe College should contact DellaPorta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandra Soriano, a teacher at PS 16 in Queens, said the courses she’s taken so far toward CUNY’s Advanced Certificate in Community Leadership have taught her a lot.
“I have learned about the different grassroots organizations that have existed in New York,” she said. “I’ve learned how to start an organization and the basic things to do to start a movement.”
Soriano said she’s learning that “working together, we can make conditions better for the students and the community. You start small, but you can expand and reach more and more people.”
Michelle Pierrepaul, a teacher at MS 46 in Manhattan who is also enrolled in the CUNY certificate program, said she was impressed with its quality.
“Everybody is always well-prepared, and they’re giving us very informative materials,” Pierrepaul said. “I’m learning a lot, things I never imagined, about how to have a voice in the community.”