E3 Summer Training: How A+ College Ready Approaches Learning Differently

Nothing exemplifies the work and mission of A+ College Ready better than the summer E3 training events.  E3 training, which stands for Equip. Empower. Expect More, is the springboard that provides Alabama teachers with the curricular tools and pedagogical strategies to raise and maintain high academic expectations in their classrooms and to facilitate instruction so that ALL students, no matter where they live, can achieve at higher levels. Each summer, educators from across the state come together to receive content-specific professional learning to bring back to their own classrooms with their own students. 

Summer 2019 E3 training sessions were held in three different areas of our state, Fairhope High School, Thompson High School and Decatur High School. Almost 1,600 teachers attended one of these trainings focused on math, science, English, social studies and/or computer science. There were forty-eight different class offerings from which teachers could choose based on the class(es) they teach.  The professional learning instruction also differs based on the amount of A+ College Ready Training teachers have received in the past. Teachers attending for their first or second years spent four days in collaborative classrooms with colleagues who teach the same class, e.g.. Algebra I, learning from master teachers. Most year 3 participants spent two days diving deeply in The New Art and Science of Teaching led by a Marzano Research expert.

To get a better glimpse of what happens in E3 training, check out the video below and continuing reading about the benefits of our program!

Who are the teachers who attend E3 training?

While the primary focus of E3 training is the teachers in A+ College Ready’s current program schools (cohorts 9, 10, 11 and 12), ALL teachers in Alabama are invited to attend. Teachers who do not teach at one of the current program schools can attend by paying a registration fee. The teachers come from middle schools, junior highs, and high schools in urban, rural and suburban settings.

In addition to representing a wide variety of school settings, the participants also have broad diversity on the experience continuum. Sixty-one of the almost 1600 participants will be leading a classroom for the very first time this fall! Eighty-six of their colleagues will be beginning their second year as a teacher while 220 of the participants have 21 years or more experience.  From rural to urban, from north to south, from novice to seasoned veteran, the different backgrounds, school settings and experience levels contribute to a dynamic classroom experience as these teachers learn from other colleagues in both similar and very divergent settings. 

As shown in the graph, 29% of the participants attended mathematics training. The Alabama State Department of Education partnered with A+ College Ready to provide no-cost training to Algebra 1, Geometry and Math 7 teachers from any school in Alabama.  A large number of Alabama schools and teachers took advantage of this training opportunity.

It is also noteworthy that 223 Alabama teachers took advantage of computer science training offered during the E3 training events.  Computer science, like the math training, was available at no-cost to all Alabama middle and high school teachers who will be teaching a course or supporting computer science education in their schools in fall 2019.  The funding for this training was provided by legislative appropriation in the 2019 ETF budget.

 

What do the teachers say about E3 Training?  

All teachers were encouraged to give A+ College Ready feedback on their training experience.  Here are some of their comments:

 “A+CR is truly rigorous. I am thankful everyday in my classroom that I was introduced to this program as a first year teacher, and that my county continues to partner with this curriculum provider.”

“I feel that the modules will help me facilitate more rigorous learning for my students in the most efficient way possible. I love that I can scaffold and give support where needed and take it away as the students become stronger readers, analyzers, and learners. The graphic organizers and step by step way the writing is taught will benefit my students greatly.”

“These resources are great for my classroom because they provide meaningful, engaging, purposeful, and rigorous tasks for students. These resources also allow students to process their thinking which leads to success by teaching them to think critically!”

“I plan to make every effort to follow the A+ College Ready pacing guide. I believe my inclusion classes will strongly benefit from the hands on manipulation of tools to SEE the math and internalize it. I believe it will strengthen their understanding and make them stronger math students!”

“I feel more prepared and ready to tackle the task of growing as a teacher and facilitating the development and growth of students. This training and these materials will not only help me plan and head down the correct path with great timing but will also help to ensure that students will be engaged and actively learning. I believe this program will help to create an atmosphere of excitement and enjoyment in the English classroom. I am excited for the teachers who are beginning this journey with me.”

“I plan on using the materials in my classroom because this is my first year teaching 7th grade Civics and Geography. It will be nice to have a framework for lessons so I am not starting from scratch. I also think the strategies are very engaging for students.”

“They are applicable to the parameters I have to work within when I teach, like the state Course of Study – A+ College Ready materials are right in line with COS for all subjects and very useful and user friendly.”

“The activities are engaging ! I enjoyed them and my students will also. I gained a better understanding of concepts . I feel my students will also. I have been introduced to strategies and better resources to equip empower, and expect more for myself and my students😊”

“I cannot look at these materials and resources and figure out how anyone would not use them. Not only is each 9 weeks laid out for the teacher, but also all of the activities and resources are provided. The rigor is astounding. I cannot wait to try this out with students!”

“I will be fully implementing the curriculum because I have seen first hand that it works and it helps me keep my students achieving at a higher level than before.”

“The materials will up the rigor inside of my classroom. This will translate to me being a better teacher, which will make my department stronger, which will make my school stronger.”

“I am an upcoming first year teacher. I have had a lot of anxiety about pacing guides, planning, and general implementation of content. A+ has really eased my mind and given me more confidence that I can excel in the classroom!”

 

Are participants glad they came to E3 training?

The days are long and the training is intense, but educators find the time they spent very worthwhile. Almost every E3 participant gives up four days of their summer WITHOUT ANY EXTRA PAY!   1,200 of the almost 1,600 participants completed the feedback survey. They were asked how interested they were in E3 training prior to the training event and then how happy they were they had attended the E3 training event.  Their responses are summarized below.  

While 34% of respondents were EXTREMELY interested in attending the training, 66% of the respondents were EXTREMELY happy that they came.  92% of participants were either extremely happy or quite happy that they spent four days of their summer in E3 training.  That is a resounding affirmation of the quality and relevance of the training!