Nationally Recognized

 Nationally Recognized for Extraordinary Teaching

The future prosperity of our community depends on the educational foundation our students receive each day in classrooms around the district. We know the stakes are high, and the task is ongoing. Our teachers and staff have proven to be up for the challenge. As we continue to strive to meet our mission of graduating every student prepared for success, we’re proud that the important work taking place every day on the frontlines has earned our district a spotlight on the national stage.

  • Most notably, Palo Duro High School teacher Shanna Peeples was named 2015 National Teacher of the Year. Her profound approach to teaching students from many different cultures and backgrounds has garnered international attention. As the NTOY, Shanna humbly represented not only AISD but also the nation’s 3.1 million public school teachers. In April 2016, Peeples was named an NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow. The esteemed appointment equips educators to bring an international perspective to their students and school districts.
  • The gold star efforts of teachers, staff and students at South Lawn Elementary captured the school a 2015 National Blue Ribbon. In 2017, Whittier Elementary also received a National Blue Ribbon for its devotion to student success. The Department of Education’s coveted Blue Ribbon award is given to schools that achieve very high learning standards or make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
  • South Lawn is one of AISD’s 19 No Excuses university schools, an effort so successful that Amarillo is now considered the “epicenter” of the NEU movement. The NEU model is a nationwide initiative of schools who share the same goals for student learning, believing it is the role of the adults to create exceptional systems to ensure every student has options and is ready for success after high school.
  • AISD’s leadership in the NEU movement brought the district another opportunity to impact the national conversation through an alliance with Amarillo College, the nation’s first NEU college. In December of 2014, AISD joined AC at the White House College Opportunity Summit which was hosted by President and Mrs. Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Three Amarillo ISD campuses are 2015 Honor Roll Schools, an achievement recognized by the Educational Results Partnership and the Institute for Educational Productivity. Whittier Elementary, South Lawn Elementary and de Zavala Middle School received the distinction for consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. 
  • Amarillo ISD was honored for the second time in March with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for our outstanding commitment to music education. Only 476 districts across the country, including just 40 in Texas, received the prestigious award in 2016.
  • Slightly more than 200 schools in the world have earned the prestigious Lighthouse designation from the Franklin Covey Co., and in April 2016, Amarillo's Tradewind Elementary became one of them. Leader in Me Lighthouse Schools are recognized for implementing the Leader in Me process and achieving outstanding results in school and student outcomes.  The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.
  • AISD’s innovative approach to encouraging post-secondary education success has earned it a District of Distinction award from a national educational leadership journal. The District was featured in a special edition of District Administration magazine that highlighted the efforts of Caprock High School, Tascosa High School and Palo Duro High School as teachers and administration pushed for 100 percent of college applications submissions for the 2016-2017 senior classes.
  • In September 2017, two AISD educators, Kay Fincher and Nichole Bennett, were named as finalists in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest recognition of mathematics and science teachers. Teachers considered for these awards are recognized for their fresh and innovative methods of teaching inside a classroom. AISD is represented in both award categories with Bennett as a finalist in mathematics teaching and Fincher as a finalist in science teaching.
  • Amarillo ISD started the 2017-2018 school year as among the top 10 school districts in the nation for high achievement among low-income students. This extraordinary honor comes from the Education Equality Index (EEI), which compared academic performance between low and high-income students from 55,000 schools across 45 states to determine ranking.
  • AISD students scored higher than both the state and national average on SAT exams taken in March 2017. The combined efforts of AISD students and administrators working to establish greater test preparation for students boosted the average score for the District by 27 points from the previous year and 15 points higher than the national average in 2017.

These highlights are recognition that did not happen by chance. They’re the result of the everyday efforts of our district, says Superintendent Dr. Dana West. A regular in the halls of our schools, Dr. West reminds us to take pause and look at things in a new way.  What looks ‘ordinary’ to those outside our profession can really only be made possible through intentionality and extraordinary effort.”

 

 

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