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AFT Professional Development Educator Academy

Educators at conference. Miller Photography

Educators brainstorm and share ideas at a training institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Miller Photography.

With few exceptions, the best teachers—the ones who make a difference in children’s lives year after year—are made, not born. That is why an ongoing teacher development program is crucial.

This 10-day train-the-trainer Academy is union-sponsored, research-based professional development that addresses the complexities of teaching. Offered in July, the program is designed to help local unions build the capacity to deliver high-quality professional develpment services to all educators--teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel. Course offerings change from year to year, based on interest.

The AFT collaborates with leading education researchers to synthesize and apply research-validated best practices. Classroom-based activities help participants connect the research findings to their daily work, including: small group interaction, role-play, case studies, simulations, Socratic seminars and shared reflection.


How does the Educator Academy Work?

This comprehensive and intense training prepares these master educators to return to their locals as facilitators in specific course areas. These individuals, in turn, train others to facilitate sessions at the local level in a pyramiding effect designed to reach larger numbers of participants. Selecting the right people for leadership roles is crucial to the success of a training-of-trainers model. All professional development deliverers are union members and are regarded as highly effective practitioners.

AFT PD is designed to allow locals to determine its goals for the program, identify member needs, assess district initiatives, identify potential partners, and then customize the delivery of PD to fit its own situation. Content can be delivered as courses, mini-courses, workshops or awareness sessions.

Getting started

Local presidents who are interested in establishing a local professional development program with AFT assistance should:

  • Contact their state federation president and AFT regional director to request a recommendation for participation,
  • Complete an application, and
  • Identify a local contact to run the local program (local site coordinator) and attend the AFT Professional Development Educator Academy.