Education Research & Dissemination (ER&D)
Started by AFT almost 30 years ago, ER&D is professional development at its best. Designed by and for practicing teachers and paraprofessionals, ER&D courses synthesize the best educational research in the nation and present it to educators in a highly usable, immediately relevant format.
ER&D strives to ensure that its courses are ongoing, standards-based, consistent, and useful, all critical building blocks for any successful professional development program.
Classroom practitioners have long been subjected to ineffective inservice sessions, which are often district mandated and many times irrelevant to actual classroom instruction.
As the organizational representatives of teachers and paraprofessionals, AFT has constructed a professional development program that is meant to be an ongoing process, rather than an in-service event! In addition to providing credible, relevant, research-based information, the ER&D program is committed to:
* Offering a non-threatening, non-judgmental learning environment;
* Providing opportunities for thoughtful discussion about teaching and learning with colleagues and researchers;
* Providing opportunities for self-reflection and collegial inquiry;
* Making a process available that allows for individual understanding and implementation of strategies that result in real change of practice;
* Providing opportunities for professional growth, continuous learning, and validation of existing practice; and
* Offering a program that builds a sense of pride in the quality of public schools and our union of professionals.
ER&D in Montana
Eight local MEA-MFT affiliates currently offer ER&D courses as part of district professional development offerings for teachers. These locals and their local ER&D site coordinators are listed below:
Local site coordinators
Billings Education Association: Kathy Rumph
Bozeman Education Association: Mary Christiansen
Butte Teachers Union: Jeanette Barnes
Great Falls Education Association: Keith Davey & Mary Wren
Havre Education Association: Marie Deegan
Helena Education Association: Susan Graham
Kalispell Education Association: Sharon Applegate
Missoula Education Association: Kris Miller
Additionally, a network of seven paraprofessionals from throughout Montana is currently developing a new course specifically for classroom paraprofessionals. This course will be ready in the Fall of 2004 and will assist new and experienced paraprofessionals to meet new federal requirements.
ER&D offers a number of courses, meaningful to a broad spectrum of K-12 educators. In several communities, ER&D courses may be taken for continuing education, graduate, or undergraduate credit through partnerships with the Montana University System.
For a list of available ER&D courses, course descriptions, or for more information about ER&D in general, please visit the AFT's ER&D course website at: www.aft.org/ERD/Courses.htm.