In-Service Center Overview
The University of Alabama In-Service Education Center, established by the Alabama legislature in 1984-85, is one of eleven state regional centers whose purpose is to provide professional development to the K-12 educators in designated public school districts in its geographic region. The University of West Alabama (in Livingston) was named as a cooperating partner. The Center has been funded yearly since 1984-85.
The UA In-Service Center serves the teachers, administrators, counselors, and librarians of twelve (12) school districts within nine (9) area counties: Tuscaloosa City, Tuscaloosa County, Fayette County, Lamar County, Pickens County, Greene County, Hale County, Sumter County, Demopolis City, Linden City, Choctaw County, and Marengo County. The map of the region along with links to the school system sites can be found here.
DESIGNATED CRITICAL NEEDS AREAS
By mandate of the Alabama State Board of Education, the following areas have been designated as critical needs areas and, thereby, constitute the areas in which the Center may provide professional development: language arts; math; science; social studies; technology; special education; health; library/media; economics, administration; and, guidance/counseling.
In addition to offering professional development programs and activities for the 120+ schools in its region, The University of Alabama In-Service Center administers several major projects, including Alabama Science in Motion, Technology in Motion, and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative.
The Center offers programs that adhere to the national and state standards for professional development—research-based, job-embedded, on-going, and/or school based. Moreover, the need for a requested program must be supported by data (e.g., student achievement data, needs assessment data, EDUCATEAlabama, etc.). Examples of such programs include book studies and professional learning groups.
The UA In-Service Center also provides professional development assistance to schools in ways other than offering programs. For example, under certain conditions, the Center will help pay for substitutes so that teachers may go on site visits to other classrooms or schools to observe exemplary teachers, best practices, or designated instructional strategies. Another example would be providing assistance to a school district that is working on aligning curriculum to a new state course of study; the Center, under certain conditions, will help pay stipends to bring in teachers on non-contracted school days to do this work.
There is no charge for participation in any programs sponsored by the UA/UWA In-Service Center.
Each regional in-service center is governed by a sixteen-member Governing Board comprised of the following: 8 teachers; 4 administrators; 2 higher education representatives; 1 local board of education member; and 1 state department of education professional staff member. Governing Board members from K-12 public schools are nominated by the superintendents of participating LEAs or by the professional educators’ association of participating LEAs. The Governing Board receives nominations and approves the representatives. The Board meets in September, January, and April.
Each regional in-service center receives a yearly allocation from the Alabama legislature. This funding is channeled through the Alabama State Department of Education to the regional in-service centers in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement.
The University of Alabama In-Service Education Center is an optimal vehicle for delivery of a variety of professional development programs to targeted educators in its region. It is, consequently, often awarded grants to carry out training for regional teachers and administrators. Since 1995, the Center has been awarded more than $20,000,000 in grants.