TORI J. NORRIS | The Greenville Standard
Last week, several teachers from Butler County schools attended AMSTI training at Greenville High School.
AMSTI, Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, is the Alabama Department of Education’s initiative to improve math and science teaching statewide.
Their mission is to provide students in grades kindergarten through twelfth with the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workforce and/or post-secondary studies.
AMSTI is divided into eleven regions. AMSTI-Troy, which is housed on the Troy University campus, serves schools in Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.
The Alabama State Board of Education adopted new science standards last fall. “This updated training is being offered for all of the kindergarten through eighth grade science teachers,” said Sherrie Blackmon, AMSTI-Troy Assistant Director. “AMSTI-Troy units of instruction have changed to reflect the new performance based standards, including objectives based on basic engineering design principles connected to real world applications.”
Most of the teachers who attended the AMSTI training have attended two weeks of summer training for the previous two years. “They have invested quite a bit of time learning AMSTI science materials,” said Blackmon.
Candace Powell is a fourth grade teacher at Georgiana School. “Attending AMSTI training is always fun and interesting,” said Powell. “Our hands-on time at the training helps us to better prepare for our students in the upcoming year, making it very valuable.” During the training, the teachers are the students. The teachers attending AMSTI are in the students’ seats and get to experience how the material is delivered. “We also meet other teachers from our area who we can collaborate with over the school year to share ideas, help each other out or bounce ideas off of one another.”
But the work does not stop after the summer institutes. Following the summer institutes, full-time AMSTI specialists mentor the teachers in their classrooms until the newly trained teachers become comfortable with the style of teaching taught through AMSTI. Equipment and materials are also delivered to the schools throughout the year. Each site runs a material refurbishment center where all the kits from the region are refurbished to “like new” condition before being sent to the next teacher.