By Cathy Gassenheimer
Our Alabama Best Practices Center has a long history of working well with Alabama Department of Education initiatives. It’s a close relationship that started more than a decade ago with the Alabama Reading Initiative — a program that’s had a profound, positive impact on literacy and the teaching of reading in our elementary schools.
We’ve also provided professional development for about 200 AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) field staff around teacher coaching and best instructional practice. They are expected to serve thousands of schools.
When the economy hit the bottom, education budgets began to shrink, and we entered the “new normal.” With worry over insufficient state resources to expand the AMSTI team, we had to think about how we could respond to the need to provide just-in-time professional development support to teachers across the curriculum. This is a particularly pressing issue as Alabama begins to implement the Common Core State Standards.
This, among others, is an issue surrounding the development of the Alabama Instructional Partners pilot project. We were on track to develop instructional coaching in all of our schools, but the recession has put resources for this support at risk.