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ATD Greater Boston Helps MA Teachers

Greater Boston Chapter of the Association of Talent Development (ATD) wins excellence award in support of Massachusetts’s Teachers 

In Fall 2020, an idea crystallized through a question for Erinn Gerry, VP of Volunteers at the Greater Boston Chapter of the Association of Talent Development (ATD): with all the Chapter’s expertise in virtual teaching in the corporate world, could members help Massachusetts teachers who have been suddenly thrust into a virtual teaching environment? The idea quickly caught on among chapter leaders and a committee was convened to develop the idea. 

Ultimately a series of six virtual learning events, focusing on sharing best practices for virtual learning, were delivered via Zoom to a total of 54 Massachusetts teachers during November and December of last year, and in March 2021 the Chapter was announced as the recipient of a ‘Chapter Excellence Award’ in Strategic Partnership. for this initiative. A $1,000 prize comes with the award.

Many professionals contributed to make this initiative a success. Through the efforts of Board Member Dottie LaMark, Director of Learning at The Predictive Index, ATD Greater Boston found a willing partner in the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association (MTA), which consulted on the design of the sessions and arranged to distribute the invitation to its members and secure enrollment. Then LaMark and the committee sought volunteer professional trainers among ATD members. “We were overwhelmed with the response of Chapter members who offered to donate their time, during evening hours, to share their wisdom with the teachers,” said LaMark. Ultimately, the series consisted of 6 sessions: 

    • Building Connection: Your 2021 Distance Learning Playbook
    • But it Worked So Well in the classroom! Successfully Transitioning in-Person Lessons to Virtual
    • Virtual Delivery Best Practices: What Have We Learned Over The Years?
    • Let's Talk Technology
    • Adopting a Student-Experience Lens to Transition to Virtual Delivery
    • Learning Panel Discussion 

The educators attending the sessions represented a cross-section of educational levels, from kindergarten, primary, secondary, and post-secondary. Feedback was strong, with teachers indicating that they planned to quickly implement the methods that they learned during the sessions. “If I come away with one idea to try then I feel that it has been successful. I came away with several ideas”, said one participant. Teachers who attended sessions received attendance certificates from the MTA toward continuing ed certification.

Dan Callahan, Training & Professional Learning Specialist for the MTA, said “we have been extremely happy to partner with the members of ATD Greater Boston to put on a wide range of technology workshops for our members. Our educators express great appreciation for the skill of the presenters and have reported that they’re learning skills they can immediately implement in the classroom.” The learning was not one-sided, however. ATD member and session producer Jocelyn C. Dunphy ( said, “One of the major benefits of this program for teachers was to give them a venue for sharing their own best practices that they had developed during the last few months. The teachers were thrilled to make these connections with one another.”

The ATD volunteer presenters also found that while ‘giving back’, they too were on the receiving end of tremendous value by participating. Trainer Mark Simon (Principal of said, “We all need to embrace that mantra of ‘We’re all in this together.’ Lending a hand to others can confirm that you’re not the only one who is struggling, and if you can help even one person, perhaps you’ll find a new peacefulness that will help you get through this.” Julie Palazini shared “Here was an opportunity to help a really critical group of people who have such an impact on our society. I was honored to be chosen along with (co-trainer) Colleen Wheeler.” Wheeler herself indicated that the experience affirmed that collaboration and teaching can be accomplished even during this time of almost universal remote interactions. Trainer Bonnie Weigl (Weigl Associates) added, “Volunteering my professional skills helped provide an unexpected arena to become a better trainer.” Rafe Mattingly, Director, Business Development at Impact Performance Group and Past President of ATD Greater Boston, said “Through this initiative, we are strengthening the connection between our chapter and our community, which translates into more opportunities for our own members to ‘make a difference’ in areas that they may not have thought of before.”

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About the MTA: The MTA represents 110,000 members in close to 400 local associations throughout Massachusetts. The association is comprised of teachers, faculty, professional staff and education support professionals working at public schools, colleges and universities across Massachusetts.  

About ATD Greater Boston: ATD Greater Boston is a leader in the Massachusetts learning community, with ~160 active members across the Boston metro area. Our mission is “through exceptional learning and performance, we create a world that works better.”

ATD Greater Boston is affiliated with the Association of Talent Development, The ATD is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ATD’s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in more than 130 U.S. chapters and with more than 30 international partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers.

© 2021 ATD Greater Boston