Congrats, Alabama!

I found the Alabama Best Practices Center site after reading a post on The 21st Century Learning Project by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. I have only gone into a few of the resources there and I plan to go back and discover more. Sheryl and her colleagues in the project were seeking an answer to the question:

How do education leaders effectively promote the knowledge, skills and sense of urgency for 21st Century teaching and learning among all the teachers in their schools?

It was interesting to read Kristi Stacks’ Letter to Parents about using email in the classroom and the obstacles that surfaced. There are so many fabulous resources and ideas at the site. But the area I most want to investigate is the professional development/teacher training techniques. Obviously in our little school of 9 classrooms and 12 full-time teachers (including myself) we cannot hope to set up the kind of “team” structure as in the ABPC. This weighs most heavily on my mind as the new school year looms ever closer. I feel the “urgency” but most of our faculty does not.

This year I hope to be able to spend more time with classroom teachers as a coach and also as a co-teacher to help with technology integration. (That is, if there is a Spanish teacher other than myself for the next school year!) If there is no support structure in place, teachers will not want to take risks. When the wireless laptops aren’t connecting, or the United Streaming video won’t play and the “tech person” is teaching a class, there is not much to encourage them to keep trying. So I will delve further into what worked for Alabama teachers and see if I can glean some strategies that I can adapt for our situation. There are also many success stories on that site that can be shared during our afterschool weekly tech sessions. Professional development and teacher support are critical. I really would welcome any advice or resources that can help with teacher training when the “human” resources are so limited in the school. (I feel like Bartholomew Cubbins!) I can’t entice them into the boat and then leave them without oars.

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