Constantly Evolving: Celebrating Our 15th Training of Facilitators

It’s hard to believe, but the Training of Facilitators (TOF) that began this week is actually the 15th we’ve held over 6 years (with now almost 300 facilitators trained), and have they ever changed! We started in 2017 at CUNY Law School where then-Director Kris Glen had been Dean, and then moved to Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work where we held a series of continuously evolving 2-day in-person trainings until Covid closed us down.

While we enjoyed, and benefited from the camaraderie of those early trainings (not to mention the great food we served for breakfast and lunch!) the combination of Covid and opening several SDMNY expansion sites led inevitably to the need for remote training; we’ve been working on how to make that a viable, high-quality alternative since Fall 2020. This, the 15th, is the most sophisticated and, we believe, the most effective yet.

Over the past summer the SDMNY team did a major revision of the existing TOF to better accommodate learners and to maximize skill development in a virtual format. Starting with the updated and revised Facilitator Manual, a newly hired, project specific Curriculum Specialist oversaw and informed a new format incorporating best practices for both asynchronous and “live” virtual training. The TOF kicked off with 3 asynchronous “classroom” modules made available on September 7, and we held the first “live” session this Wednesday (2 more to go) with thirty staff members from our newest partner agencies (Good News [7/14/2023]) in attendance.

One of the prime movers in the revision, Technical Assistance Coordinator and Transition Specialist, Jenna reports

It’s really exciting to pilot this new multi-modal format of the TOF. The trainees were super engaged and had a solid background
on SDM by the time we all got in the (Zoom) room together this week!

while SDMNY Director Naomi says

The commitment of our SDMNY team, especially Mentors Jenna Lamm and Karen Rosenthal, Associate Director Joan Cornachio and Curriculum Consultant Sam Jacob went above and beyond hours of writing, rewriting, editing and design, demonstrating SDMNY’s passion in advancing and enabling everyone’s right to make their own decisions regardless of disability.