Registration for KLN and PCN Is Now Open! Learn More about the What, When, How and WHY.

By Cathy Gassenheimer
Executive Vice President
Alabama Best Practices Center
A+ Education Partnership

THIS is why we started the Alabama Best Practices Center. THIS is why we’ve thrived for more than two decades. Because you love networking with your colleagues across your region. Because you love exchanging ideas, challenges and successful strategies with professionals who do the same work you do. Because you love professional learning that rings true and inspires you to achieve even more.

KLN South (2019)

THIS we know, and we’re excited to announce the upcoming series of Key Leaders Network and Powerful Conversations Network sessions for 2020-2021! This school year, you will receive even more, including:

  • More hands-on learning
  • More modeling of effective remote, blended, and flipped learning
  • More networking opportunities
  • More flexibility
  • More exposure to just-in-time content!

In this blog, you’ll find all you want to know about the what, when and how. I also want to share some of the all-important WHY — calling on the voices of respected educators from across Alabama. You’ll see their comments throughout this post!

“My school district uses a lot of the research we gain through ABPC participation in vertical training meetings for the entire system, top to bottom. Our administrators are involved in the Key Leaders Network (KLN). Our coaches and teachers participate in the Powerful Conversations Network (PCN).

My school has implemented several things we have acquired from ABPC participation, including creating a teacher coaching system built on partnership principles, and student-led conferences that not only keep parents informed but help students understand why they are learning what we teach them.”

– Greg Edge, Elementary Principal
Attalla City Schools
from “Why Do We Need the Alabama Best Practices Center?”

For 2020-2021: Hands-On Remote Learning

For now, we are planning for all sessions to be online, supported with both asynchronous and synchronous learning. This decision is based on conversations with district partners who stressed the current challenges of face-to-face learning (exposure, finding substitutes, not being present for students, etc). Of course, if the situation changes and we can hold face-to-face meetings later in the school year, we’ll certainly plan to do that.

“Focus. There is a quote that says, ‘Where your focus goes, your energy flows.’ It is easy to miss the focus of school, which is to educate students. There are not many other organizations that help school leaders focus on student learning better than the Alabama Best Practices Center and its Key Leaders Network.”

– Dr. Jimmy Shaw, Superintendent
Florence City Schools

For 2020-2021: How It Will Work

Each session will begin with an asynchronous segment using the “drip method” (e.g. not all content will be posted at the same to maximize the networking and provide greater flexibility so the learning can be done when it best works for the participant). A synchronous session will then be held on the date that your specific network is scheduled. For PCN, the synchronous session will last 75 minutes; for KLN, the session may last a little bit longer. We are emailing schedules to provide greater clarity.

Each of the four sessions will end with another asynchronous session designed to extend the learning, networking, and school or district team planning. An optional live Zoom event will be included at the end of each session for those who have questions or want to extend their learning. Thus, each of the four sessions will be open for almost a month, allowing for maximum participation, flexibility, and action.

“If you want to identify and cultivate leaders in your school, there is no better way than to participate in the Alabama Best Practices Center’s Powerful Conversations Network! PCN offers the BEST professional development for cutting-edge pedagogy to enrich and deepen teaching and learning in your district.”

– Suzanne Culbreth, Math Educator
NBCT, Milken Award Winner, Alabama State Teacher of the Year

For 2020-2021: Guiding Texts

The guiding text for our Powerful Conversations Network sessions will be Relationships, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma-Invested Practices to Foster Resilient Learners by Kristin Van Marter Souers with Pete Hall.

The Key Leaders Network will use the guiding text Coherent School Leadership: Forging Clarity from Complexity, by global school leadership expert Michael Fullan and and co-author Lyle Kirtman.

“Oxford City Schools has partnered with the Alabama Best Practices Center over the last 12 years, participating in numerous professional learning experiences that have greatly influenced our collective professional work.

Multiple Oxford City teams have benefited from participating in various ABPC networks and opportunities, interacting with progressive professionals in events facilitated by outstanding leaders. This professional development and networking has substantially contributed to increases in student achievement in our schools.”

– Khristie Goodwin, Curriculum Coordinator
Oxford City Schools

For 2020-2021: Cost for Year-Long Participation

Key Leaders Network: Cost for individual participants is $425 for the four sessions, which includes a PLU. District teams are generally comprised of six people with a good mix of school-based and district-based leaders (exceptions are made for the larger districts).

Powerful Conversations Network: School teams of three for $1,250 a team. Up to three more participants can be added at $200 each. PLUs and CEUs are available. This year, we will have four PCN sessions due to the uncertainty of holding Instructional Rounds. If circumstances permit, Instructional Rounds will be scheduled as a separate offering outside of PCN and KLN.

“I have been involved with professional development through the Alabama Best Practices Center for many years. The knowledge and skills I have gained have been invaluable for me as a building principal.

Thanks to the ABPC networks, I have developed important professional relationships with other school administrators around the state who encourage me and challenge me to be a better administrator. The most important part of my growth has been related to improving academic instruction in our school for greater student achievement.”

– Stan Stokely, Principal
Saraland Elementary

To register for our networks, please fill out this form. If you have any questions, contact:

Dakota Punzel
ABPC Program Coordinator
[email protected]