Governor Robert Bentley visited Oak Mountain Middle School on July 17 to visit with teachers who are attending hands-on training for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). Between 300-400 teachers from throughout Central Alabama are attending the two-week training, which is being sponsored by AMSTI at the University of Montevallo and University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Bentley toured several classrooms where he observed teachers, many from various Shelby County Schools engaged in various AMSTI activities. He was particularly interested in one activity where a group of teachers from Vincent Elementary School were dissecting an owl pellet, a mass of regurgitated remains that the bird can’t digest.
Sharee Winslett, a third grade teacher at Vincent Elementary, told the governor that AMSTI is a very effective teaching method which instantly engages the students.
“I’ve taught for 32 years and this has been the most influential thing in my career,” she said. “The children love this.”
Bentley addressed a group of guests in the library which included members of the media, the Shelby County Board of Education, elected officials, teachers and students. He said he strongly supports AMSTI, along with the Alabama Reading Initiative and the state’s voluntary Pre-K program, and would like to see additional funding become available to expand all three programs.
“We have lagged behind other nations with our math and Science scores in recent years,” said Bentley. “That needs to change and in Alabama it is changing.”
In fact, AMSTI has proven to help improve test scores in participating students. AMSTI Director Steve Ricks said the program has been so effective, it is now being studied by 21 European countries, China and Mexico, as well as other states.