Northwest Alabama teachers return to the classroom as students

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AMSTI instructors go over content teachers will learn over the next two weeks of class at Russellville Middle Schools. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Rather than taking the summer off, dozens of teacher are spending the next two weeks in the classroom.

The teacher is now the pupil, and they’ll be taking their new-found skills back to classes this fall.

Science learning kits sit ready and waiting for the newest group of teachers to be trained in AMSTI learning at Russellville Middle School.

The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative began in 2004 as a way to improve student’s comprehension of math and science state-wide through hands-on learning.

“It levels the playing field. It makes it that individualization comes whether the kids are on the lower end of the spectrum in their abilities or if they are gifted and can excel even past their grade level,” AMSTI Specialist Lori McGuire stated.

Through June 11, 230 teachers from across northwest Alabama will learn the projects first.

McGuire said for the first couple of days the teachers seem a bit overwhelmed. But by the end of the first week, the teachers are getting into the new learning process.

“You’ll have so many ‘ah-ha’ moments with the teachers and start hearing things like ‘If I was taught this way this would be so much better. I understand fractions if someone had taught it this way.’ It’s great; it’s a lot of fun,” McGuire explained.

The fun is passed on to the classroom to teach today’s generation.

To date, proficiency rates in math have improved by 14% with the use of AMSTI projects in the classroom.

The program is funded by the Alabama Department of Education.