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24 January 2006

Alabama Math, Science, Technology Initiative

A Report to the JSU Board of Trustees
by Dr. William Carr
Dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education
January 23, 2006

The In-Service Education Center at Jacksonville State University is one of eleven Regional Inservice Centers in the state that have been actively involved as partners with the Alabama Department of Education and the local school systems in providing teacher training at all grade levels.

In recent years the Alabama State Department of Education has implemented the Alabama Math, Science, Technology Initiative (AMSTI) with the purpose of raising student achievement in math, and science, coupled with optimum methodology for integrating technology into student learning.  The In-Service Center at Jacksonville State University is one of eight Regional Inservice Centers designated as a site for conducting training for K-12 science and math teachers.  In support of this training, the Alabama Department of Education has awarded funds to JSU for teacher training, purchase of instructional supplies for K-12 students, and salaries and benefits for five AMSTI staff members.

AMSTI provides three basic services:  professional development, equipment and materials, and on-site support.  Schools become official ASMTI Schools by sending all of their math and science teachers, and administrators to two-week Summer Institutes for two consecutive summers.  At the Summer Institutes, teachers receive grade and subject specific professional development that is highly applicable to their own classrooms.  Training is conducted by “master” teachers who have been certified as AMSTI trainers after successfully completing AMSTI trainer workshops.  Upon completion of the training, instructional kits are delivered to the classroom for the use of the participating teacher.  At the end of every semester, additional kits will be prepared for delivery and use of the teachers who enroll in this project.

Partners for AMSTI JSU are the JSU College of Education and Professional Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, the In-Service Education Center, Alabama Science in Motion at JSU, Alabama Technology in Motion at JSU, and all fifteen school systems in the JSU service area.  Providing additional expertise and assistance are the Smithsonian accredited Anniston Museum of Natural History, the Anniston Army Depot, Honda Alabama, Westinghouse Anniston, Acker Electric and other businesses and industries which employ scientists, engineers, and people who use mathematics as an essential part of their work.

When fully implemented, this project will serve approximately 4,000 teachers and more than 58,000 students in the JSU service area.  The AMSTI record for improving student learning and student achievement is impressive.  In recent evaluations, students whose teachers were trained in the AMSTI program scored significantly higher on student achievement tests than those without the AMSTI program in their school.  The superintendents of the fifteen school systems in the JSU service area, enthusiastically support this program.  More importantly, the teachers and principals of the individual schools have demonstrated their interest and willingness to participate in the summer institutes.  During a recent orientation session conducted by AMSTI JSU, there were over 200 lead math and science teachers and principals representing 80 schools.

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