Safety seminars available from ELT

By Molly Belmont


Blue and orange NYSUT ELT (Education & Learning Trust) logo with motto tagline underneath that reads: Advance your career. Refresh your mind.

o ensure that all schools are secure and welcoming environments for teaching and learning, NYSUT’s Safe Schools for All Task Force is calling for districts to provide regular and ongoing safety training for staff, and more social-emotional supports to address student behaviors.

As we push districts to take action, the union’s Education & Learning Trust offers three seminars that cover effective behavior intervention strategies. Seminars are offered virtually or in person; each is worth 3–7 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education hours. All ELT seminars are discounted for NYSUT members.

Be proactive

Instead of being reactive to student behavior, educators must be proactive, said Nancy Sharoff, an ELT instructor and Ellenville Teachers Association member. In “Student Behavior: Part I,” Sharoff explains how to find the underlying cause of misbehavior and gives educators new strategies for responding.

“Too often, educators are pressed for time, they respond to student behavior and then continue class. Just as we want our students to reflect on their learning, teachers need the time to reflect on their teaching practices,” Sharoff said. This seminar is the first of a three-part series and Sharoff encourages educators to complete the full series.

Restore community

When students act out, the whole community is affected, said Tracy Sangare, an ELT instructor and member of the North Colonie TA. In her online seminar, “A Beginner’s Guide to Implementing Restorative Practices,” she teaches the foundations of restorative practices, which are about intentionally building community in the classroom. Sangare provides a roadmap for how to implement these practices to resolve conflicts between students or between students and educators. “Building community in our schools should be a top priority among districts; community building has no downside,” Sangare said.

Taking action

Detecting issues and heading them off often comes down to developing a rapport with students, said Pam Thomas, an ELT instructor and member of the Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Employees Association. “SRPs have a role in building and nurturing relationships with students. They (often) pick up on the slightest details about students, who notice if they’re having an off day,” she said. In her seminar, “Violent Incidents and What We Can Do,” she shares strategies with SRPs on how to stay calm and trust their gut. “If you see something, say something. Even if you are not sure it is important, report it to the school’s point person, and then keep following up,” Thomas said.