The University of South Alabama department of leadership and teacher education in the College of Education in collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education is sponsoring a two-week summer program for more than 600 Mobile and Baldwin County teachers.
The USA program, the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, will feature seminars titled “Balancing and Weighing” and “Air and Weather.” More than 80 trainers will facilitate the workshop sessions from 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m., through June 17 at the Spanish Fort School in Baldwin County. During the program’s sessions, the teachers will learn how to better teach math and science with hands-on training.
The Mobile and Baldwin County Schools are sharing the $2.8 million in grant funding, and USA is the location of the AMSTI Master Site. AMSTI is the Alabama Department of Education’s effort to improve math and science teaching statewide and is funded through the No Child Left Behind Federal Act. The Gulf Coast Exploreum serves as a collaborating partner.
Developed by a blue-ribbon committee of educators, university professors and business leaders, the program requires administrators and teachers to undergo additional specialized training.
Dr. Phillip Feldman, associate dean of education and director of the South Alabama Research and Inservice Center at USA, wrote the AMSTI grant.
“We are pleased to serve as the AMSTI site,” Feldman said. “This institute gives teachers hands-on experience helping students to improve in math, science and technology with the most current technology and improved classroom equipment.”
Also attending will be Mobile County School Superintendent Dr. Harold Dodge, Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Faron Hollinger, Gulf Coast Exploreum Executive Director Mike Sullivan and members of the Mobile and Baldwin County legislative delegations.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum has partnered with USA to implement the AMSTI program. For the last six years, the Exploreum has helped to provide training to teachers to help prepare them for AMSTI by supporting with the same high-quality science materials currently being used.
AMSTI staff members will help direct professional development and follow-up activities for AMSTI. The AMSTI staff will also manage more than 100 science kits and 275 math kits for the program, offering teachers ready-to-teach materials. USA’s AMSTI project is located at the Exploreum’s Springhill Avenue site.
“AMSTI is making an incredible difference in student learning,” said AMSTI-USA Project Director Shelly Rider. “There is an excitement in the air among the teachers from the twenty-three school who will be involved in this training.”
The initiative calls for the establishment of 11 regional Master sites across the state. The first AMSTI Master Site was initiated at the University of North Alabama in Florence. Each site selects schools to become AMSTI Schools through a competitive process. Currently, there are 41 AMSTI Schools in the state.