Every fall a select group of educators from across the globe is invited to Perkins’ historic campus in Boston to take part in the Educational Leadership Program (ELP). Every spring they emerge ready to make a difference.
The ELP offers advanced training to teachers and related professionals from around the world. Participants of the ELP are immersed in expert instruction and hands-on learning experiences – both inside and outside the classroom. They attend lectures, conferences and workshops, and visit public schools. They observe and teach in Perkins’ classrooms and assist residential students with daily activities.
The result is transformational. Graduates depart for their home countries, eager to share their new knowledge and improve the lives of children all over the world who are blind, deafblind or blind with multiple disabilities.
A Proud History
This practice of teaching teachers goes back to 1920, when Perkins School for the Blind established a teacher training program for educators of children who were blind or deafblind. Today, the ELP continues that tradition of sharing advanced training, educational strategies and real-life experience with teachers and professionals from organizations around the globe.
By imparting knowledge and skills, the ELP works to spread Perkins’ belief in the right of all children who are blind with additional disabilities to high quality educational services.
There is no better place to learn best practices in the education of children who are blind and have additional disabilities than on Perkins’ 38-acre campus in Watertown, Massachusetts. Program participants attend lectures in Perkins' historic buildings, observe and teach in our classrooms and assist students in their residences for a unique training experience that provides a comprehensive understanding of education and services for students who are blind with additional disabilities, including those who are deafblind.
Curriculum for all participants include academic courses led by Perkins’ experts and other noted professionals in the field, as well as hands-on learning in classrooms and living quarters, where they can put theory into practice.
Participants may choose a six- or nine-month program, both of which incorporate academic lectures and written projects, classroom observation and hands-on experiences with Perkins staff and students in residences and the classroom. Practicum is planned according to each participant’s individual interests and needs in areas, including preschool and early intervention, deafblindness, multiple disabilities and elementary or secondary education.
Participants in the nine-month program spend three months in full-time practice teaching on campus. Participants also travel off-campus to observe in public schools, audit university graduate courses or attend workshops and conferences. Participants are challenged to adapt and learn in a culture that may be different from their own, and to fully embrace the learning experience.
Application to the ELP is a competitive process. We accept teachers, direct service providers, program administrators, university instructors and professionals who are committed to expanding their own knowledge and sharing it with their home organization.
Preference will be given to applicants who:
- Work as a specialist or team leader at an agency that provides direct services to children with blindness with additional disabilities or deafblindness, and have at least two years experience in the field
- Are involved in training teachers in the area of multiple disabilities, blindness and/or deafblindness
- Have adequate knowledge of the English language (speaking, reading and writing)
- Have the support of their organizations to study at Perkins
Perkins welcomes qualified applicants without bias toward race, religion, gender or disability. Scholarships are available to qualified applicants.
About Marianne Riggio
Marianne Riggio is well known worldwide as an expert in the field of deafblindness.
She is the co-author or editor of over 15 publications focusing on the education of children with deafblindness that are now used internationally as the basis of trainings for teachers, administrators and parents.
Riggio was named coordinator of Perkins’ Educational Leadership Program in 2012. Prior to her current role, she served as an Educational Consultant for Perkins International, and as a regional coordinator for both the Africa and Asia & Pacific regions.
Riggio earned a master’s degree in Multi-handicapped and Deafblind Education from Boston College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Special and Elementary Education.
Over the years, Riggio has traveled to Israel, Ukraine, Jordan, Portugal, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Haiti to provide technical assistance to local partners.
Before she joined the Perkins International team, Riggio was the Project Director for the National Deafblind Training Project, which developed training institutes in deafblindess for teachers and parents.