Teachers Use Summer Time to Learn at AMSTI

June 24, 2008

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- Math and science aren't just simple school courses anymore, they're a measuring tool for how students will compete in the 21st century.

Tuesday, Alabama teachers went back to school themselves to learn how to better prepare their students for the future.

It's called the AMSTI program and it's changing the way your child learns.

Much like the potatoes that are sprouting in a local science classroom, teachers hope the knowledge gained from the experiment will grow their knowledge in teaching math and science.

"I believe we all learn by doing...getting in there and getting dirty...being teachers it's been awesome, it's made you feel like a kid again," says Donna Etheredge, a teacher at Autaugaville Elementary School.

The teachers are back in the classroom as part of the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, or AMSTI for short.

"We've had teachers all over the state saying we want AMSTI in our region."

And there is a reason for that.

According to Steve Ricks, Director of the program at AMSTI, schools' standardized test scores are up giving students a renewed interest in math and science. "If you look at a lot of what the media is telling us, we're not producing the number of math and science students we need to produce in the U.S., but with AMSTI students begin thinking about careers in math and science."

Marilyn Brown has been teaching for 30 years and she's seen the difference AMSTI can make in a student.

For many students, this is more valuable to them than just opening a text book and reading black and white print," Brown says.

Last year, Governor Bob Riley launched the program in more than 150 schools across the state.

The program was established by a blue ribbon committee for students in grades K through 12.

It's budget at the time, more than $22 million.