AMSTI summer training for teachers

Nearly half the schools in Alabama use a program called AMSTI. Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative gets students and teachers engaged in a hands on approach to subjects often difficult to learn or to teach.

It works. To make it work, teachers go to summer school.

Hundreds of teachers are spending the next two weeks at Oak Mountain Middle School. To be AMSTI certified, teachers need 120 hours of training over a two year period.

Elissa Osborne has taught for 14 years. She's seen the difference AMSTI has made with her students.

"The children are very excited about math workshop and learning, doing everything hands on," says Osborne. It's helping them figure out their interests and makes learning more engaging, and fun."Osborne is one of the teachers attending the AMSTI summer institute at Oak Mountain Middle School. The teachers are being trained on the latest activities and methods in mathematics and science teaching.

In a study released by the U.S. Department of Education, AMSTI schools showed gains in math equaling an extra two and a half months of additional education.

AMSTI director Steve Ricks believes the success of the initiative speaks for itself.

"Students show a tremendous increase in achievement if they were in an AMSTI school," says Ricks. "We know that the way students learn is by doing hands on and relating it to their everyday life. AMSTI's philosophy is we learn by doing."

Governor Robert Bentley also is a believer in AMSTI.{} It helps get students college and career ready. "We need to expand it to every school, every child ought to have the opportunity to learn the things that you see right here," says Bentley.

In the past, the state helped schools by paying the entire cost to enter the program. The money is just not there now to continue to add on more schools.

AMSTI has a budget of $28 million. Ricks says with an additional $18 million, AMSTI would be in every school in the state.

Governor Bentley said his office will continue to work toward finding ways to get additional funding, while ensuring that the money is spent properly.