All-Staff Convocation Inspires Togetherness

All-Staff Convocation Inspires Year of Togetherness for District
Convocation 2015

August 11, 2015 – Educators in Amarillo ISD joined together at Trinity Fellowship Church this week, kicking-off the start of the new school year at all-staff convocation. The speaker lineup included Superintendent-elect Dr. Dana West and 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples. This ceremonial occasion brought all district staff together for the first time since the fall of 2000.

Coming together is the directional theme incorporated into this convocation and aims to focus staff on central topics throughout the school year. Speakers, including Class of 2015 Tascosa High School graduate Omar Barakat and Amarillo High School parent Jill Bempong, shared personal stories of motivation through their work with school district staff. These stories will become resources for all to pull from throughout the year as they look for meaningful ways to touch the lives of others.

“This convocation is a reminder every member of this district is an important part of the success of our scholars,” Dr. West explained. “I believe we are tremendously adept at blending our skills and strengths to fulfill the mission of this district – and it is an honor to have the quality educators of Amarillo represented at the national level.”

Omar Barakat graduated from Tascosa High School in May. An avid athlete and eight-semester Superintendent’s Scholar, Barakat shared stories of teachers and coaches motivating him to continually push harder for success.

“I could sit here and talk all day long about the influence my teachers and other school staff had on my experience in school so far,” Barakat shared. “It is an honor to share some of the stories I have of motivational teachers and how others can inspire their own students.”

An estimated 2,400 educators and administrators attended this back to school kickoff event at the beginning of their instructional development time. New teachers began preparations for this school year on August 5, and returning teachers came back on August 11. Instructional development and teacher preparation will go through August 21 in planning for the first day of school on August 24.

Director of Content, Support and Instruction Stacey Harris explained it is a myth educators in Amarillo have summers off. “Our teachers use the summer to ‘sharpen their swords’ and become even better teachers for the upcoming school year.”

Educators participated in curriculum writing teams, as they do each year, so the curriculum resources available to other educators in AISD are the best they can be. Educators also attended literacy, mathematics, and science and social studies training. The fine arts, gifted and talented, and athletic departments also offered training for staff.

“Before the school year begins,” Harris shared, “more than 750 of our teachers will have attended some kind of summer instructional development this summer.”

Educators and administrators will spend the weeks before the start of school preparing their classrooms and lesson plans for the new class of students entering their doors. For more information about back to school and how students can prepare for the first day, please visit

http://www.amaisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=18930063&pageId=20390677 .

Stay connected throughout convocation by following @AmarilloISD on Twitter and checking out #AISDTogether.

Convocation 2015 Video

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