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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement: Effects on Leadership, Teacher Professional Growth, and Student Learning.

David Townsend, Pamela Adams.

The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) represents an ambitious attempt by the provincial government to influence teacher professional growth and student learning through direct funding. The AISI budget of $M 270 (CDN) over 4 years has provided the equivalent of $120 per student per year to every school authority in Alberta. Thousands of teachers have been involved in over 700 multi-year projects approved by the Ministry of Learning.

This paper will:
*examine some of the costs and benefits of AISI.
*present evidence of gains in student learning and changes in teaching practice.
*analyze the problematics of AISI implementation.
*summarize perceptions of administrators, project leaders, and team members specific to the issues of professional growth and school leadership.
*provide evidence of the benefits and limitations of action research as it has been employed in this Initiative.


David Townsend  (Canada)
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
The University of Lethbridge

David Townsend is the Coordinator of the AISI Team in the Faculty of Education at The University of Lethbridge. His research interests include educational leadership; school improvement and change; teacher development; and action research.

Pamela Adams
Visiting Professor
Faculty of Education
The University of Lethbridge

After 17 years teaching experience in secondary schools in Lethbridge,
Pamela was seconded to the Faculty of Education at The University of Lethbridge in 1995. Two years later, Pamela was appointed to the faculty, where she has taught a variety of course in the graduate and undergraduate programs, and has supervised pre-service students in four
separate practica. Pamela has extensive experience in curriculum
development and student assessment. As well, she has recently developed some innovative methods for the improvement of university teaching. For
the past three years, Pamela has been involved with the Alberta
Initiative for School Improvement, and is currently the university’s
coordinator of activities supporting this Initiative. Her research
interests include adult and higher education, staff development,
program evaluation, leadership, and action research. She is engaged in research and development with groups of university teachers, members of
two First Nations communities, learning communities projects in several schools Pamela is currently completing doctoral studies in Leadership in Higher Education at the University of Calgary.

  • The Alberta Initiative

(30 min Conference Paper, English)