The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) facilitates high-quality, network-based, collaborative professional learning. In its 20 years, ABPC has served 116 of the state’s 139 districts—in all, more than 400,000 of Alabama’s 740,000 students. And, participating in our network pays dividends! An external evaluation found that districts and schools participating in our networks improved student achievement in both reading and in math. All of our professional learning is based on research-based practice and the principles of effective adult learning. In addition to the Key Leaders Network and the Powerful Conversations Network, we are excited to announce some new offerings and restart some pre-Covid initiatives, all of which are featured below. Keep an eye on our social media for updates and new developments. If you are interested in any of these offerings, fill out this form to get started!
Key Leaders Network
The Key Leaders Network (KLN) connects district and school leaders to foster effective leadership practices that improve teaching and learning. Participants speak of the value of networking with peers from across the state and the takeaways they gain from interacting with others. The guiding text for the year is Leading a High Reliability School, by Marzano, et al. This year, KLN will connect leaders to strategies that strengthen district and school cultures as they address the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Powerful Conversations Network
The Powerful Conversations Network (PCN) connects teachers to each other to hone their knowledge and skills and improve teaching and learning. Marzano’s The New Art and Science of Teaching will be the guiding text. Teachers will meet in grade bands and/or subject areas planning and identifying lessons for the essential standards they find most challenging to teach. Social and emotional learning will be integrated throughout the lessons.
The goal of Cognitive Coaching is to provide structures and support to teachers so they can explore the thinking behind their practices and set improvement goals. A heavy focus on coaching moves and communication (active listening, paraphrasing, pausing, questioning) and intense practice make up the professional learning. Cognitive Coaching is led by Michele Tissiere and is comprised of four, two-day retreats over two years. Size is limited to 40 people. The first retreat is set for January 2022. Cost is $2,250 per person, and includes the professional learning, lodging, and meals.
PLU Book Studies
Based on numerous requests from ABPC participants, we plan to develop and offer high quality and highly interactive book studies over the course of the year. Completion of each study will earn participants a PLU. Books currently under consideration include Handle with Care by Jimmy Casas; Upstream, by Dan Heath; and Think Again, by Adam Grant. Book studies will begin in June 2021 and will operate concurrently based on demand after that. Cost for each book study is $200 for KLN and PCN participants and $225 for non-members.
Instructional Partners Network
A professional learning network for instructional coaches and other educators who regularly coach colleagues. IPN 101 is for new coaches and/or those who want a refresher. IPN 102 goes deeper into coaching skills and application; IPN 103 focused on the impact cycle and promoting and sustaining continuous improvement. The professional learning is comprised of two, two-day retreats and bi-monthly Zoom sessions. The first IPN 101 professional learning session begins Dec. 1-2, 2021 at Lake Martin’s Children’s Harbor.
Coming up in 2022
A three-day intensive professional learning institute designed for those educators who want to strengthen their facilitation skills. The institute is hands-on, with an emphasis on adult learning theory and practice. Those who complete the institute can apply for ABPC facilitator certification.
Theme-based professional learning institutes most often led by an educational thought leader. Institutes in the past have included Quality Questioning, led by Jackie Walsh, Student-Engaged Assessment, led by Ron Berger, and Having Hard Conversations, led by Jennifer Abrams.