The Alabama Best Practices Center is growing! Thanks to our established partnerships and their supportive “word of mouth,” we’ve heard from many more districts and schools eager to engage their educators in interactive, relevant professional learning and networking. Now we’re ready to say “Yes!”
What’s most exciting? The great value our participants place on connecting, sharing and learning with colleagues beyond their own school walls and district lines. Their enthusiasm is contagious and other educators want the same experience.
ABPC Adds New Schools and Districts
To meet the increasing demand we’re adding more regional networks and more participating districts. We’re also strengthening our university/RIC partnerships. Here are some highlights:
► Thanks to the 2018-19 Instructional Rounds held in Oxford City, to which prospective district leaders were invited, five districts are joining the Key Leaders Network for the first time: Gadsden City, Calhoun County, Roanoke City, Cherokee County, and Cleburne County. As part of this addition, we will add a seventh regional KLN network in East Alabama, to be held in Oxford, in partnership with the Oxford City Schools.
► Other new or reengaged districts include Tuscaloosa City, Dothan City, Mobile County, Phenix City, Conecuh County, and Pike County, broadening our geographic footprint.
► We are launching a Powerful Conversations Network (PLN) North in partnership with the Athens Regional Inservice Center and its new director Patty Maze, formerly with AMSTI. The Inservice Center will manage all of the logistics for this network. Two of our partner districts, Athens City and Muscle Shoals City, have agreed to provide the facilitators for this new network. The new PCN North will also shorten travel time for several current participating districts.
► The University of Alabama/UWA Regional Inservice Center also has a new director, Holly Morgan, who will manage the PCN West and the KLN West. She also hosted the recent ABPC Facilitator Institute (more details below). The University of South Alabama also has a new RIC director, Stephanie Hulon, who is interested in deepening our partnership with each of the districts.
Our First ABPC Facilitator Institute
As we expand, our top priority is to assure the continuing quality of our work together. To that end, we held our first ABPC Facilitator Institute in Tuscaloosa in mid-June. Close to 40 educators from across the state volunteered for our inaugural training. Over the three days, participants took a deep dive into adult learning strategies, how to trouble-shoot, and even got to practice certain facilitation skills.
Participating districts receive the benefit of strengthening their capacity for facilitating professional learning in-house. Our participants in the hands-on training will also have opportunities to practice facilitating at ABPC network meetings.
To further support new facilitators, ABPC is partnering with The Teaching Channel to use their “TeachPlus” platform, which will enable participants to upload short videos of their facilitation at our meetings. ABPC staff and consultants will then use the TeachPlus platform to provide coaching and to upload important resources and information about facilitation, advancing the learning of all our participants.
The Future Is Bright!
I’ll be writing more about these new opportunities in future posts. And I’d love to hear from you <[email protected]> if you have questions about joining or supporting our networks. The time has come for all of us who’ve been involved in this remarkable statewide networking experience to begin spreading what we know about good practice and powerful, collaborative professional learning!