Every Child a Graduate. Every Graduate Prepared.

ALSDE: AMSTI - Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative

The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, commonly referred to as AMSTI, is the Alabama Department of Education's initiative to improve math and science teaching statewide. The mission of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) is to improve math and science teaching in Alabama so all students develop the knowledge and skills necessary for success in postsecondary studies and in the workforce. To accomplish this AMSTI provides teachers with ongoing, grade and subject level professional development and the equipment and materials needed to teach math and science using hands-on, activity-based instruction. Additional information about AMSTI can be found at http://www.amsti.org.

AMSTI Director
Steve Ricks, sricks@alsde.edu
Phone: (334) 242-8256

AMSTI Science Coordinator
Dr. Sandy Ledwell, sledwell@alsde.edu
Phone: (334) 353-9256

AMSTI Math Coordinator
Mr. Tod Beers, tbeers@alsde.edu
Phone: (334) 353-5251

AMSTI Overview | AMSTI History | AMSTI 2006-2010 Evaluation Summary | AMSTI Official Guidelines

AMSTI was designed by a Blue-Ribbon committee comprised of K-12 educators, higher education representatives, and business leaders. The committee pursued every step possible to design the most effective statewide initiative for improving math and science teaching. AMSTI is research-based and incorporates best practices for math and science teaching.

AMSTI is recognized both nationally and internationally as other states use it as a model for reforming math and science instruction. Change the Equation, a coalition of 100 CEO's from some of the national's largest companies has rated AMSTI as a highly effective, "accomplished" model worthy of funding based on 10 different criteria. Fortune 500 CEO's chose AMSTI as one of 35 official "programs that work" from across the nation-and AMSTI was the only math and science initiative so recognized.

The initiative provides three basic services: professional development, equipment and materials, and on-site support. Schools become official AMSTI Schools by sending all of their math and science teachers, and administrators to two week Summer Institutes for two summers. At the Summer Institutes teachers receive grade and subject specific professional development that is highly applicable to their own classrooms. Instruction is delivered at the Summer Institutes by "master" teachers who have been certified as AMSTI trainers after successfully completing AMSTI trainer workshops.

AMSTI sites provide AMSTI School teachers with essentially all of the equipment, supplies, and resources needed to effectively engage students with hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Examples of equipment include labware, chemicals, global positioning devices, plants with growth containers, and many other items. The resources arrive packaged in "kits" ready for immediate use. Each kit is customized for the specific activities that will be taught. Once students complete the activities from a kit, it is returned to a materials center where it is refurbished to "like new" condition. Another kit targeting the next activities to be undertaken is delivered to the teacher and the newly refurbished kit is sent to another teacher.

AMSTI sites also provide extensive, on-site support and mentoring. Once teachers complete the Summer Institute, math and science specialists from the site regularly visit the schools where they serve as coaches, helping teachers implement what was learned during the summer. Such support is vital for teachers to become comfortable and skilled at inquiry-based, hands-on learning.

Each region of the state has an AMSTI site to support schools within the region. The AMSTI site conducts the Summer Institutes for teachers within the region, under the supervision of the Alabama Department of Education. The site also operates a materials center that refurbishes kits and rotates them among teachers. In addition, it provides the math and science specialists that deliver on-site mentoring.

Evaluation results, provided over a 10 year period by initiative's external evaluator, and from the largest study of math and science teaching ever conducted in North America (funded by the USDE), verify that AMSTI is highly successful in improving student achievement.