Water Center to Provide Detailed Forecasting, AL Teach for America Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

May 27, 2015

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator

The University of Alabama is teaming up with researchers across the country to study the nation's water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus yesterday afternoon.

The $24 million National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting as well as research and water management.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

“Agency folks from the federal family, university researchers, young students coming together to start really driving on these details of ‘How do you stitch together the mosaic of models that you have today into a more integrated, cohesive model picture that’s also much more detailed?’”

That unified and cohesive picture will eventually allow the National Water Center to make detailed water forecasts up to weeks in advance within one kilometer of anywhere in the country.

The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to a state education budget expanding Alabama’s prekindergarten program.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved a conference committee agreement on the spending plan yesterday. That budget now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature.

The education budget provides an additional $10 million to the state's pre-kindergarten program. The increase is expected to enable another 1,800 4-year-olds to attend the public preschool program.

Education budget chairman Rep. Bill Poole says the budget makes classroom spending a priority. Raises for state teachers are not included in the budget this year.

Alabama lawmakers are still working on the state's other budget. The General Fund budget could include deep funding cuts to state agencies unless lawmakers agree on a new source of revenue.

The non-profit group Teach for America is celebrating its fifth anniversary in Alabama.

Supporters of the teacher recruitment program will gather in Birmingham tonight. The organization works to attract college graduates or professionals to become public school teachers.

Executive Director Khadijah Abdullah says one challenge is finding experts in math, science, and engineering to enter the classroom.

“For example, when we first started placing in the Black Belt, that placement was based on that type of teacher shortage. You would have students in the classroom who were juniors or seniors who wouldn't have a math teacher. And when you think about it, that’s how we prepare students to be college or career ready."

Teach for America in Alabama has attracted 250 teachers to the state. They serve over 35,000 public school students in both rural and urban communities.