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Teacher Voices: “Our Standards Are Helping Students Flourish and Contribute Wherever They Go.”

The mastery of new, more rigorous standards has been challenging for many students, says the 2018-19 Alabama Teacher of the Year Zestlan Simmons, but “thanks to a steady process of guided practice and constant feedback” many more students are turning the corner – gaining the skills and knowledge they need to become informed citizens ready to flourish and contribute to the world.

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Teacher Voices: Why Do Our Rigorous College and Career Ready Standards Matter? Look at This Quick Before-and-After Comparison by Science Teacher Amy Murphy

Alabama’s rigorous College and Career Ready science standards require students to go beyond identifying facts and information. They require them to predict, analyze, and explain as they work to master the standards’ expectations. Science teacher and NBCT Amy Fowler Murphy offers an example from her chemistry class.

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Teacher Voices: “Standards Are Part of What We Do Every Day.”

What are Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards? Why are they important to educators? How do they help students prepare for life after school in both college and career? Follow along with our new “Teacher Voices” series as educators from around Alabama answer these questions. We begin with Kay Haas, a veteran teacher and instructional coach at Walker Elementary in Tuscaloosa County.

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Jackie Walsh: My SEL Lessons from the ASCD Empower19 Conference

Learn why Jackie Walsh came away from ASCD’s Empower19 conference with the understanding that “social emotional learning occurs in the classrooms of teachers who themselves have a strong sense of Identity and Agency, are adept at both Emotional and Cognitive Regulation, possess finely tuned Social Skills, and have a robust Public Spirit.”

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As School Year Pressures Build, Kindergarten Still Says It Best

During the last challenging months of the school year, educators need to remember some simple messages learned in Kindergarten: “Stay on target. Stick to our structures and routines. And by all means – collaborate.” Jill Edwards, an assistant principal in the Florence City Schools, spotlights “the masterful skills of really adept kindergarten teachers.”

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Florence City Schools: “Making Sure Each Child is Known”

Some students begin their journey through middle and high school in high-visibility mode. They are active in class and in school life – “everybody knows their name.” But other students are at risk of getting lost in the crowd. Teachers in Florence City Schools have begun a proactive program to make sure every student is well-known and supported.

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Quality Questioning in Muscle Shoals: McBride Elementary

Muscle Shoals City Schools is making quality questioning a key improvement strategy. In our final post by district instructional partners, Cheryl Lockhart shares some of the tools McBride Elementary has developed to support students and teachers as they “jump into the pool” and begin the shift to a culture of deeper thinking and discussion.

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Quality Questioning in Muscle Shoals: Howell Graves Preschool

Muscle Shoals City Schools is making quality questioning a key improvement strategy across the system. In the second of three guest posts by district instructional partners, Sandy Armstrong reports on the QQ experience at Howell Graves Preschool after a team of teachers attended ABPC’s summer Quality Questioning Institute.

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Quality Questioning in Muscle Shoals: Highland Park and Webster Elementary

Quality Questioning is a highly effective way to engage our students in deeper learning. To help ensure more Alabama teachers gain access to training in quality questioning, ABPC has begun offering QQ Institutes, led by national expert Jackie Walsh. In the first of three guest posts by instructional partners in Muscle Shoals City, Dianna Ritter reports on the QQ experience at Highland Park and Webster elementary schools.

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