Mobile County School District Invests Federal Stimulus Dollars in Local Teachers

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Collaboration with Pearson Focused on Improving Elementary Students' Reading Skills

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None of this extensive professional development would have been possible without the ARRA funds.

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, stressed the "need to invest in the skills and education of our people" and said that "the best anti-poverty program is a world-class education." Echoing those words, the President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan released billions of dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds last year to local school districts throughout the country, including Alabama's Mobile County Schools, to advance a wide variety of effective programs and services aimed at turning around America's lowest-achieving schools.

To make a difference in the district's literacy program and help at-risk students, Mobile Schools opted to invest Title I stimulus funding in professional development for local teachers, and partnered with the education services and technology company Pearson, the nation's leading provider of teacher education and training.

"Knowing the important role that teachers play in the success of students, Mobile chose to invest stimulus resources to professional development training for our on-the-ground educators. Improving the literacy of our youngest students was a top priority for us this year, which is why we focused our efforts on this program," said Mobile County's Elementary Reading Supervisor Marilyn Howell. Noting that the ultimate beneficiaries are Mobile's children, Howell added, "None of this extensive professional development would have been possible without the ARRA funds."

Focused on Mobile's specific needs to help at-risk children improve their reading skills, the district and Pearson developed a customized professional development plan for the District's teachers that began last fall and is continuing throughout the school year. The teaching training centered on small learning communities devoted to meaningful conversations and feedback to support them in implementing Pearson's Reading Street elementary reading curriculum.

Reading Street is designed to help teachers achieve personalized learning for each and every child. Structured around differentiated instruction with daily small group plans, which recommend that teachers meet with below-level groups twice as long as on- and above-level small groups each week, the curriculum matches all students' learning needs.

In addition, Pearson conducted professional development geared toward Mobile's 71 preK units including special education units and also delivered professional development on Pearson's My Sidewalks, an intensive intervention program designed to accelerate reading development for struggling students.

"Through our work with Mobile, we truly realized the benefits of collaboration, helping to ensure the effectiveness of the teachers in the classroom and the success of all children in Alabama," said Pearson's Southern Alabama representative Sue Luckey.

"Following on the great professional development services Pearson provided a year ago, we felt comfortable knowing they understood how to make the process meaningful and relevant for our teachers in Mobile. Pearson worked with us to select the topics that met our teachers' needs and was based on teacher growth and affirmation," said Howell.

To learn more about Mobile County Public Schools, visit http://www.mcpss.com/.

For more information about Pearson's professional development, go to http://www.mypearsontraining.com/index.asp.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to http://www.pearsonschool.com.

Contact: 800-745-8489

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Kate Miller
Pearson
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