Madison school staff meets at HudsonAlpha retreat

Schools leaders from the Madison district are attending a three-day retreat at HudsonAlpha Center for Biotechnology.

Madison City Schools principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, instructional staff personnel from the Central Office and Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler are pursuing the professional development sessions.

“Adult learning never takes a break,” elementary instruction coordinator Judy Warmath said. “We continue to read, research and attend summer sessions in preparation for the upcoming school year.”

The conference opened on July 10 with Dr. Max Thompson, project director of the Learning-Focused Schools Model. Thompson’s specialty is connecting exemplary practices in curriculum, instruction, assessment and school organization to increase learning and achievement in schools, Warmath said.

An author, Thompson has written numerous articles, chapters, teacher handbooks and guides and has delivered many presentations and workshops across the United States, Canada and Europe.

Thompson has taught in public schools, served as a school district’s executive director for school improvement and was a professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. for 20 years.

In working with the Madison personnel, Thompson discussed exemplary practices that are research- and evidence-based in moving schools forward to increase learning and achievement. He explained design and planning of curriculum to satisfy standards, along with evaluations of schools and curriculum.

“Dr. Thompson reviewed accelerated classrooms for academically at-risk students,” Warmath said.

The “learning-focused school” accommodates learning for students and adults in the building. “As we grow in our knowledge and build our instructional practices upon research-based strategies, we continue to meet the student needs and remain in an upward direction in student achievement,” Warmath said.

Safety and discipline were topics for meteorologist Brad Huffines with Media Weather Innovations and Dennis James, coordinator of safety, security, communications and student services. Madison administrators had a work session for implementing Common Core Standards for math.

Other sessions dealt with technology, budgets, student health, special education and LEAD Alabama, the new evaluation system for administrators. The conference will end on July 12 with a visit to U.S. Space Camp.

In August, Thompson will return to Madison for professional learning sessions for teachers and administrators.

For more information, call 256-464-8370.

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