Science teacher and A+ summer intern Shelton Bowens visited Montgomery’s Brain Forest Summer Academy a few weeks ago and came away convinced that “students in Alabama are growing and achieving” in educational settings where “learning is fun, culturally relevant and intentional every day.”
The ABPC Blog
Authentic kindness goes a long way, writes Cathy Gassenheimer, “and it seems like we’re a bit short on kindness now.” On first picking up the self-help bestseller “How Full Is Your Bucket?” she suspected it would be “cheesy,” but came to see its value. “I bet it will make you feel better and maybe even give you a more positive outlook.”
To smooth the transition from elementary to middle school and serve the “whole adolescent,” Coppinville Junior High has implemented a house system “designed to improve our school’s culture and to give every student, teacher, and staff member a place to belong,” writes Instructional Partner Carrie Heninger.
What if schools were recreated from the inside out, driven by the purposeful learning of teachers and students? What if curiosity and motivation were the key drivers? And what if this idea was taken to scale? Cathy Gassenheimer reviews UNSTUCK, a new McREL book about just such an initiative.
With 1000+ students in PK-6, Madison City’s Mill Creek Elementary has created a House System, writes principal Carmen Buchanan, “to ensure that our large school has a small feel.” The combination of Houses and “Families” promotes mentoring, positive relationships among faculty and students, a sense of school pride, and a framework for character education.
Will our schools learn how to prepare students who are confident and self-directed, with the adaptive expertise they will need to thrive in the years ahead? Back from a recent trip to Croatia, Cathy Gassenheimer reflects on the importance of adaptive learning and a new book about successful school change.
The rise of artificial intelligence may not be on your radar yet, but it’s hard to imagine a more pressing community-wide education discussion, writes ABPC consultant John Norton. “Alabama, with its significant presence of high-tech businesses and industries, has a deep well of knowledgeable professionals who are already seeing AI spread and can enrich those discussions.”
Nancie Atwell’s “The Reading Zone” can be a valuable resource to teachers wanting to strengthen comprehension skills and love of learning, writes Cathy Gassenheimer. It supports a goal we all share: “We want every student to get ‘lost in the zone’ reading something they love.”
Principal Cathy Trimble faced a big challenge when her high school merged with elementary grades to become a comprehensive PreK-12 school. Grade bands became isolated communities making it difficult to move Francis Marion School forward. Then came the Buddy Teacher system.
In the Mountain Brook Schools, “we have learned that student voice is not a thing,” writes C&I leader Missy Brooks. “It’s a culture of true student ownership of learning.” Learn about the district’s effort to give students a better grasp of “why we do the things we do.”