By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY–The Alabama State Department of Education is hosting a MEGA conference in Mobile on July 15 aimed to educate more than 2,400 teachers and administration on their PLAN 2020.
“It is an exciting time in education in Alabama as the transition is made to PLAN 2020 with the vision of Every Child A Graduate – Every Graduate Prepared,” the ALSDE statement said.
The conference will present the plan to increase college preparedness and career readiness among Alabama students. A focus will also include how teachers and administration can work within the Accountability Act to ensure that failing schools are able to succeed.
“MEGA 2013 promises to offer a full array of sessions, with focuses on federal programs; writing standards-based and data-driven Individual Education Plans; and advancing STEM education, among numerous others, all designed to help educators learn from and inspire each other,” the ALSDE statement says.
ALSDE Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice expressed concern for the “funding woes” that have caused concern for educators in a letter in the MEGA 2013 program.
“While it is valuable for us to look back this summer, it is vital
that we concentrate on looking forward during MEGA 2013,” Bice wrote.
Mobile County Superintendent Martha Peek added to the program, writing a letter welcoming the educators to Mobile. “As educators, we will gain valuable information from the sessions presented on each strand of PLAN 2020,” she wrote.
MEGA 2013 offers the opportunity to discover innovative and effective instructional strategies, to network with professionals and business representatives who can help accomplish goals, and to refresh as educators prepare for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Sessions include “Keeping the Curriculum Fresh,” “Show me WHY it works for Elementary School” and “Digital Literacy: Using Technology in Reading and Writing Instruction.”
The break-out concurrent sessions will be divided by the four “strands” of PLAN 2020: learners, support systems, schools and systems and professionals.
The “learners” strand will cover the PLAN 2020 objectives, which include achievement and growth (“All students perform at or above proficiency and show continuous improvement”), gap closure (“All students succeed”), improving the graduation rate (“Every student graduates from high school”) and college- and career-readiness (“Every student graduates college prepared”).
The “support systems” strand will cover the objectives associated with that component of the plan, which include ensuring that all students “attend school daily and be engaged in rigorous and relevant learning environments,” “develop a sense of personal and civic responsibility.” Additionally, the strand will provide instruction to make sure that all students have access to counseling services, healthy meals and physical education and a four-year plan for high school that meets the student’s academic needs.
The “professionals” strand will cover sessions to educate educators and ensure that students are taught and lead by “well-prepared, resourced and supportive” teachers and leaders, as well as making sure that school systems are led by “visionary,” supportive leaders.
Lastly, the “schools/systems” strand will strive to help educators meet the remaining objectives: receiving adequate funding, resourcing and supporting based on school needs, granting flexibility to innovate learning environments and resourcing schools to build infrastructures.