“You keep planting seeds! The harvest will be great!” (@sheilaholt19)
It always amazes me how some ideas just blossom into an incredible opportunity for students. Just this has happened here in Madison City. On one auspicious day in July I happened to sit next to Dr. Kilgore, Director of Special Education, at an administrator’s retreat. I shared with her that I had taken a new role as District Science Specialist/Grant Administrator and we got to talking about science opportunities for all students. She mentioned that there were new Alabama Alternate Achievement(AAA) Science Standards, and she inquired as to curriculum and materials available to assist teachers. I thought about The Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI).
“The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative is the Alabama Department of Education’s initiative to improve math and science teaching statewide. Its mission is to provide all students in Grades K-12 with the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workforce and/or postsecondary studies (college and career ready).” http://www.amsti.org/
It just so happened that I was meeting with Mrs. Sheila Holt, Site Director at UAH AMSTI, the next week and I told Dr. Kilgore that I would inquire as to what they might have available for our students in our special education program.
From this planted seed, and much hard work by Ellen Thompson, AMSTI 4-5 Science Specialist and Ann Iott, Assistant Director UAH AMSTI, a new pilot program designed to support The Alabama Alternate Achievement Science Standards has been launched. This Special Education High School Science Pilot will provide training, materials and support for Madison City and Madison County teachers who have students working on AAA Science Standards.
Madison City’s Job Coach/Homebound teacher, Michelle Hyams and James Clemens' Special Education teacher Melanie Collier, as well as other dedicated teachers from Madison County and AMSTI specialists met twice in the fall to brainstorm the structure of the program. Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Iott then went to work and adapted a curriculum to match many of the AAA Science Standards. The teachers attended a two day intensive training in December. In January the trained teachers will receive their AMSTI materials and will begin to use them with their students. The AMSTI specialists will visit these classrooms to provide support throughout the pilot semester. The pilot will culminate in an end of semester meeting to evaluate implementation and discuss adaptations.
Through the hard work of all involved, the mission of AMSTI to equip all students for success will come to fruition through this pilot program.