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Educators Institute Day prepares hearts, minds for school year

The school year is in full swing now for students! However, preparation for this academic school year began much earlier for the administrators, teachers, bus drivers and other support personnel.

Many administrators and certified personnel attended state meetings, workshops and seminars for continuing education credits or attended college to upgrade their degree during the summer break.

One major meeting that school systems require for administrators, certified and non-certified personnel to attend was the Institute/In-service Day.

Each system has different formats, but most always start with an agenda that includes everyone signing in, breakfast refreshments, visiting with each other, superintendent’s welcome, devotion, speakers, vendors, AEA Benefits and door prizes.

Working with the Alabama Education Association District 1 Director Tracy Moore, I sat in on some of the sessions of the Franklin County Schools Institute Day held at Belgreen High School and Red Bay High School.

The sessions featured different speakers on various subjects, such as safety, federal programs, English Language Learning, technology, CNP, diabetes and anaphylaxis training.

Professional development continued for personnel at their respective schools following lunch.

Franklin County Schools held a luncheon at the Red Bay High School Tiger Den for all new teachers in the system. The welcome was presented by Jennifer Warhurst, Franklin County elementary curriculum coordinator. Each new teacher was provided a Mentee Program Binder.

The motivational speaker was A. J. Buckner with the Alabama State Department of Education. He works in the Office of School Improvement and the North Region of Alabama.

The new teachers were informed about the Alabama Teacher Mentor Program. This is a voluntary program open to local education agencies statewide in the state of Alabama. The Alabama Legislature provides $3 million line-item support for the ATMP on an annual basis.

The Alabama Teacher Mentor Program provides a “helping hand” to induct the beginning teacher into the culture of the school and the system. A mentee may be a new teacher who is transitioning from college to the teaching profession; one who taught in a substitute capacity/taught less than a full semester in his/her own classroom; or a teacher starting their first-year teaching under any of the following: emergency certificate, provisional certificate, interim certificate or alternative certificate.

The ATMP supports beginning teachers with well-trained, resourced and effective mentors, who strive for an average of 2.5 hours of contact time during each week of the school year.

The Alabama legislature, administrators and educators support the Alabama Teacher Mentor Program, which seems to be successful.

It is important that excellent teachers are recruited and retained for the future of our educational system and our children.