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Learning is everyone's job!

The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) is a place where educators can turn for assistance, inspiration and information about teaching and student achievement.

Our purpose is to help teachers and administrators develop the competence, commitment, and courage to do whatever it takes to improve student learning.

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Humility and Exceptional Leadership: Excerpts from an Interview with Good to Great Author, Jim Collins
March 27, 2015
Well known for his work on recognizing and fostering transformational leadership for organizations, Jim Collins (author of Good to Great, among other titles) turns his attention to school leadership in his next project. Collins wanted to learn from exceptional school leaders who have had success in all types of different school environments and communities.
In a recently published interview for Independent Schools magazine, Collins refers to education as “the most compelling” of the social sectors, and he attempts to find the common factors that make a school great, whether its public or private, rural or urban, small or large, elementary or high school.
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Shadowing a High School Student: "How do they do it every day?"
March 19, 2015
Does your school arrange for teachers to shadow students? It's a unique kind of professional learning.

Amy Mitchell teaches science at Florence (AL) High School. Several months ago, Amy took advantage of an opportunity to shadow a single student for a full day to gain a deeper perspective on the lives of students at her school. Here are some reactions and reflections, captured immediately after the experience.

Amy includes seven learnings she says will influence her own teaching in the future. "It was one of the most insightful things that I have been able to do to help my students. I enjoyed it thoroughly and gained so much from it."

by Amy Mitchell

My first thought is that our students are truly run through the mill on a daily basis. There are some positive and some negative spins!

Overall, I had a fantastic day. I felt extremely challenged in some classes (stepping into a second year foreign language class when I hadn’t had the first year in over 20 years); completely bored in some (there was a sub in the class, so I couldn’t expect interactions from a teacher), and I experienced a newfound respect for our fine arts program.

There are some extremely important questions I have from today’s experience: How do these kids do this every single day?Read More
A Helpful Guide to Designing Meaningful Professional Learning in Your School
March 10, 2015
by Cathy Gassenheimer
Designing Schools for Meaningful Professional Learning: A Guidebook for Educators by Janice Bradley (Corwin, 2015)
When the latest member book from Learning Forward arrived recently, two things made me pick it up.
First, the title – and the word “meaningful” – is so important to our work. We often hear educators complain about “scattered inservices” or not having enough time to really do the type of sustained, collaborative learning that we all need to improve. Meaningful implies intentionality, purpose, and—most importantly—relevance and timeliness. So I was intrigued.
The second factor that prompted me to immediately open the book was seeing the name Shirley Hord on the cover as the author of the foreword. Shirley is the Scholar Laureate of Learning Forward and the author of countless books on professional learning and change. Her name is synonymous with effective professional learning, and I knew that if she liked the book enough to write a foreword, it was worth my time to read it.Read More
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