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The Truman Pierce Institute: Making a Difference in Alabama

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1 The Truman Pierce Institute: Making a Difference in Alabama
Dr. Cindy Reed, Director Truman Pierce Institute College of Education Auburn University

2 Who Was Truman Pierce? The Truman Pierce Institute is named in honor of Dr. Truman M. Pierce, an educational visionary, who served as Dean for Auburn University’s College of Education for two decades and made regional and national contributions to educational arenas. He especially focused on ways to improve society and the lives of people across the state and nation.

3 Purposes To support progress toward meeting the educational needs of the state and region To foster collaborative partnerships to improve education and educational opportunities To assist in the development and implementation of professional development schools/systems in order to stimulate renewal of higher education and public schools To improve the conditions within schools and communities that influence the effectiveness of leadership, education, and community and economic development

4 Current Projects West Alabama Learning Coalition
AU/Tallapoosa County Leadership Academy Instructional Improvement Institute (I3) Research on the History of Education/Community Involvement for Kettering Foundation (partnered with AU Center for the Arts and Humanities) Educational Policy Research Initiative Alabama Online Encyclopedia (secondary partners with AU History Dept., AL Humanities Foundation, and others) Auburn City Schools/AU Professional Development School Relationship On-going research and publications Support for/creation of partnerships and school-based programs Educational assessments conducted for the Alabama Communities of Excellence Initiative

5 West Alabama Learning Coalition
Partnerships among K-12 schools, higher education, community colleges, and community/business leaders focused on simultaneous improvement of K-12 and teacher education as well as community and economic development 9 West Alabama (or with similar demographics) counties [Hale, Sumter, Wilcox, Clarke, Monroe, Fayette, Macon, Lee-Loachapoka, Tallapoosa]


7 What has been accomplished?
Expanded emphasis on need for educational improvement, economic development, and community development occurring simultaneously 2 Coalition-wide meetings each year since 1997 Coordinators (PT) hired for each partnership Monthly coordinator meetings during and , academic years Focus on capacity building Many new partners added Improved Student Learning Opportunities!!

8 Progress Made Toward Improved K-12 Student Learning
After school and/or Saturday tutoring programs offered in most partnerships Future Educator groups founded in 3 partnerships and more are being created Distance Education classes offered Improved libraries Aquaculture programs created Career preparation programs/opportunities Standardized test scores have gone up in most partnerships

9 Expanded Involvement of Business and Community Members
Banks (United, Frontier, Regions) Area Businesses (Alabama River Pulp, Alabama River Newsprint, Frisco City Manufacturing, Scotch Lumber Company State and National Businesses (Alabama Power, Weyerhaeuser, Blue Cross/Blue Shield) Churches and church groups Community Agencies (Betterment Assoc., Leadership NOW, Health Departments, DHR, BAMA Kids, Delta Kappa Gamma) Politicians -- several serving as members of planning teams

10 AU/Tallapoosa County Leadership Academy
Phase I: On-going professional development for principals and central office administrators (Began January 2003) Phase II: On-going professional development for assistant principals and teacher leaders (Began February 2003) Phase III: Student leadership development opportunities (Began Fall 2003)

11 Goals Prepare the district for accreditation
Develop leadership capacity and vision within the district Identify potential leaders from within the system Encourage students to consider teaching and school administration as viable careers Conduct research about effective job-embedded professional development

12 Professional Development Topics Covered to Date
Team Building Creating and Communicating Vision What Does it Mean to be a Leader in Today’s Schools? Preparing for SACS Accreditation Educational Law Building Leadership Capacity


14 Educational Policy Research Initiative
Conduct timely, contextually relevant educational policy research for legislators and the state department of education Building upon 6 years of experience doing policy research for selected legislators The spring 2003 focus was on policy issues pertaining to Teacher Recruitment and Retention for ALSDE This spring’s focus was on School Safety and Violence Prevention for Congressman Artur Davis’ office

15 Instructional Improvement Institute (I3)
Built upon successes and lessons learned from AU/Tallapoosa Leadership Academy and the West Alabama Learning Coalition Cost-effective, job-embedded professional development for administrators, teacher leaders, and student leaders (traditional and non-traditional) in four school systems Monthly professional development focused on instructional improvement, problem solving, communicating effectively, and action planning Creation of principals’ advisory teams and district-wide advisory councils Creation of school-based grant writing teams

16 Anticipated Outcomes Increased academic performance
Lower dropout rates Increased grant money Increased focus on teaching and learning Grow your own approach to developing current and future community leaders

17 Kettering Foundation Research
Research on the history of education and community involvement and its influence on public education In partnership with AU Center for the Arts and Humanities Exploration of what roles, if any, experiences and characteristics of community members play in how they view a community’s public schools Public forums to be held for deliberations about these histories Pilot phase to include Tallapoosa County School District and Choccolocco (Calhoun County) Three-year study to include other communities, particularly those in West and South Alabama

18 Alabama Online Encyclopedia
Lead partners are AU History Department and the AL Humanities Foundation Our role is to connect/solicit input from K-12 educators throughout the process Creation of an Online Encyclopedia of Alabama that will be useful for education, research, tourism, and economic development Anticipated date of unveiling: Fall 2007

19 On-going Research and Publications
Regular publication of two professional journals Monograph series on research important to educational needs of the state and region Forums to foster dialogue about teaching, learning, leadership, and policy

20 Alabama Communities of Excellence
Non-profit organization comprised of businesses, community agencies, social service agencies, higher education, and others focused on helping small communities to improve their quality of life Competitive process-8 communities selected the first year Our role is to help conduct educational assessments


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