Amarillo ISD has been working to determine the right approach to activities that students and families look forward to at the end of a typical school year. We want to thank parents, students, staff and the community for their patience and flexibility as we work to come up with plans to celebrate students in an appropriate way that honors their hard work and achievements.
The following dates and important information outline our plans at this time. Please remember, all events are dependent on social distancing guidelines and restrictions that may be in place.
Because of continued social distancing orders and rules prohibiting large group gatherings, graduation ceremonies originally scheduled for May 22 and 23 have been postponed. As our state and city slowly reopen, AISD is moving forward with plans to host the traditional, in-person ceremonies at Dick Bivins Stadium June 9-12, but only if it is safe to do so.
AISD celebrated the Class of 2020 with the following activities. For all of these activities, social distancing measures were in place.
June 9 - June 12 - Opportunity for Traditional, Face-to-face Graduation
Amarillo ISD is moving forward with plans to host in-person commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 in an outdoor setting.
Ceremonies for each of AISD's four high schools will be held at Dick Bivins Stadium June 9-12. To accommodate social distancing recommendations, graduates will receive four tickets each, and families will be given parking and seating assignments according to their graduate's last name.
Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for the following dates and times at Dick Bivins Stadium.
June 9, 8:00 p.m.
Caprock High School
June 10, 8:00 p.m.
Palo Duro High School
June 11, 8:00 p.m.
Tascosa High School
June 12, 8:00 p.m.
Amarillo High School
In the event of inclement weather, the District has also scheduled make-up dates for ceremonies on June 13 and 14.
Graduates and their families will receive details about tickets, parking, seating, and more from their high schools.
Virtual, Video-taped Graduation Ceremonies
AISD created a special virtual graduation video for each high school. The video incorporates most of the elements of the traditional ceremony, such as special music, valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, class gift presentations and the pre-recorded video of each graduate receiving his or her diploma. The virtual ceremonies were widely broadcast and distributed so that graduates, families and the community could bring some closure to the school year by sharing in this important milestone.
All four Virtual Graduation Celebrations are available on the AISD YouTube channel. Use the links below or visit the AISD YouTube channel to access each school's Virtual Graduation Celebration.
The four Virtual Graduation Celebrations were broadcast locally on the dates and times below:
Saturday, May 23, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
KFDA NewsChannel10 and newschannel10.com/live
Caprock High School: 5 p.m.
Palo Duro High School: 6 p.m.
Tascosa High School: 7 p.m.
Amarillo High School: 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
KCIT-Fox 14 and myhighplains.com
Caprock High School: 11 a.m.
Palo Duro High School: 12 p.m.
Tascosa High School: 1 p.m.
Amarillo High School: 2 p.m.
These forms are available for students to check in with their school counselor and discuss any issues they may be having during the time of school closure:
This document from the National Association of School Psychologists provides some helpful tips for parents and educators to use in talking with children about COVID-19.
Our school buildings may be closed temporarily, but we remain committed to providing at-home instruction so our students can continue to make academic progress. Thank you for your partnership, your patience and support as we transition to at-home learning.
WiFi Coverage: AISD has turned up campus-based wireless access points in an attempt to strengthen the WiFi coverage in school parking lots. By turning up our wireless access, staff and students of Amarillo ISD who need Internet access can park in a school parking lot and obtain connectivity while still observing social distancing guidelines.
Also, AISD has several school buses equipped with WiFi.
Locations for WiFi Buses:
PLEASE NOTE: WiFi Buses will not be available May 18-22. If WiFi service is needed, you will need to utilize the WiFi service provided at each school campus.
Buses will park at the above locations two different times during the day, Monday through Friday excluding May 18-22 (For May 18-22, please utilize the WiFi service at each school campus):
For At-Home Learning Instructional Help, call 326-1100: Beginning Monday March 30, Amarillo ISD’s Department of Digital Learning will begin operating a help desk for staff, students, and parents who need instructional help with at-home learning. Specifically, the help desk will provide support for the online tools that Amarillo ISD will implement during our at-home learning.
The hours for the help desk will be 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday for the duration of at-home learning.
To contact the help desk, please call 326-1100 to speak with one of our Digital Learning Specialists. If you do not reach someone immediately, please leave a message with a callback number along with a brief description of the type of support you need. A Digital Learning Specialist will call you back as soon as possible and do their best to support your needs. Please keep in mind the callback number may show up as ‘unknown’ on your caller ID.
The Digital Learning team has also put together some online resources to help families with at-home learning. View our At-Home Learning help resources (Opens in new window).
For Technical Computer Issues, call 326-1111.
In addition, the Office of Technology is manning its regular help desk for more technical computer issues that are typically hardware related. You can reach them at 326-1111 from 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday.
With the help of our school lunch partner, Chartwells, Amarillo ISD is providing meals for our students during the time school campuses are closed. Meals are offered for any child age 18 or younger. All meals are free of charge. In order to follow social distancing and group gathering restrictions, meal service will be offered in a "curbside/drive-up" method.
The locations below are serving lunch, along with breakfast for the next day, Monday through Friday. One breakfast and one lunch per child will be provided each day. Children do not have to be present in the car with their parents; however we ask that the parent provide some kind of documentation from the school showing their child/children attend an AISD school.
Free Student Meal Service Includes Weekend Meals
Beginning Friday, April 17, when families report to one of AISD’s 16 schools serving curbside meals, they will receive three lunches and three breakfasts per student. Friday’s meal service will include breakfast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, as well as lunch for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Families who participate in the Snack Pak 4 Kids program will also receive their weekend Snack Paks.
Service sites, meals offered, and times are listed below:
Breakfast and Lunch Service (combined): 11:00 AM- 1:00 PM, Monday-Friday:
Evening Meal Service: The High Plains Food Bank has generously agreed to provide Kids Café for evening meals at several schools. Beginning Monday, March 23, Kids Cafe staff will be in the front parking lot areas at the following schools/locations from 3:15 – 3:45 PM to provide curbside meal pick-up. Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Meals will be provided in a to-go container and a child must be present to receive the meal.
Instructional Materials and Snack Pak Curbside Pick-Up:
Individual campuses contacted parents Wednesday, March 25, to give detailed information about instructional packet and Snack Pak pick-up. Those receiving their instruction via at-home internet with a device do not need a packet. Instructional packets and Snack Paks can be picked up at campuses from 7am - 9am, 11am - 1pm, and 6pm – 8pm on Friday, March 27. Online instructional resources for elementary and middle school students will also be posted to the Amarillo ISD COVID-19 page on March 27. High School students will receive assignments through Google Classroom assignments or packet pick-up on Friday, March 27.
March 16, 2020: Governor Greg Abbott announced that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year. We are continuing to follow updates from the College Board considering ACT, SAT, and AP testing (Opens in new window).
EOC/STAAR:Academic assessment requirements are suspended for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year. This includes all STAAR assessments including tests for grades 3 - 8, End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments, and STAAR Alternate 2 tests.
If a student is a senior but still must complete one or more EOCs to graduate, will he/she be able to graduate? For students who are still working to meet assessment graduation requirements as seniors in the 2019–2020 school year, required performance on academic assessments to graduate under TEC, §28.025(c) and §39.025(a) is being waived for spring 2020. This means that current seniors may graduate through the Individual Graduation Committee (IGC) process regardless of the number of EOC assessments they still need to pass. Campuses will follow the IGC process developed at the District level. More information to come about the IGC process.
If a student is not graduating this year and still has one or more EOCs required to graduate, how will that affect the student’s credit in the upcoming year? The required performance on academic assessments under TEC, §28.025(c) and §39.025(a) is being waived for spring 2020 only. This means:
a) If the student is not graduating and is currently enrolled in an EOC course, the EOC passing requirement will be waived if the student receives credit for that course
b) If the student is not graduating and has an outstanding EOC assessment that they have not passed from a previous year, they will still need to retake and pass that EOC assessment prior to graduation
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: For the 2019–20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered.
Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked to earn this year. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.
Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams: The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between April 30 and May 22 for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme candidates will no longer be held.
Depending on what the student registered for, he or she will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on the student's coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes. For more information, view the IB COVID-19 FAQs PDF (PDF opens in new window).
OnRamps Courses: Transition to Distance Learning: All current OnRamps course work will move to an online platform.
College Assessment: Students must complete a sufficient portion of the college assessments to demonstrate mastery of the course. Each course will adhere to the standards of the UT Austin department in developing an alternate assessment plan by April 6. Assessments may be delayed as needed due to District cancellations.
Final Exams and Final Grades: We are likely to stay within the same relative time frame of administration and delivery of final exams and final grades. Please know that there will be exceptions and a clearly defined process for making requests for exceptions.
Dual Credit: Dual Credit Courses with Amarillo College will be delayed until April 3rd. Transition to Online Learning: Amarillo College Facilitators/Professors will work together to convert all coursework to an online learning model. Courses with labs will work with Science department heads to implement virtual labs.
Extended School Day Tuition Refunds: We have received some calls from parents asking about refunds for Extended School Day (ESD) tuition. During the time schools are closed, Extended School Day at AISD campuses is also closed. However, parents will not lose any money that has been paid to the ESD. The students will have a credit available for additional days when school resumes. Parents who prefer to receive a refund should email email@example.com to receive a refund request form. Because we are currently operating with a very limited number of staff, please allow at least two weeks for processing.
School Meal Account Refunds: For the time being, Amarillo ISD’s cafeteria account management system, www.schoolcafe.com (Opens in new window), has suspended the auto-pay feature and also the automated payment reminder calls and emails. Parents can log in to their School Café account and request to donate their balances or request a refund or leave the account balance available to be activated again when school resumes.
In light of school disruption and closure and the transition to at-home learning in recent weeks, we have made several changes to grading policies that are in effect for the spring semester and the end of the school year.
These changes are explained in detail at New Grading Guidelines for 2019-2020 Spring Semester. Please contact your child’s teacher(s) or principal if you have specific questions about assignments, grades, course credit or other grading procedures.
The attendance criteria for final exam exemptions for high school students will be recognized through March 13, 2020, for the Spring 2020 semester.
Spring is a time when many of our schools look forward to year-end celebrations that honor students of all grade levels. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold those events in person as we have in the past. As we continue to social distance, each school, with the support of administrators, coaches/sponsors, and teachers, will develop a process to recognize students that is appropriate for their school. Please look for more information from your school in the coming weeks.
Attendance from March 23, 2020, until May 22, 2020, will not be factored into the attendance eligibility criteria.
Perfect attendance guidelines for the remainder of the 2019-20 school will be suspended for all students. Perfect attendance for the 2019-20 school year will be recognized through March 13, 2020.
The District supports the decision each family makes to manage the health and wellness of their household. Once back in session, AISD campuses will accept a written excuse from parents for student health absences related to precautions taken around COVID-19. Through the State of Texas, the District has automatically been granted a waiver for the 90% compulsory attendance requirement because of the impacts of COVID-19.
Perfect Attendance: Perfect attendance guidelines for the remainder of the 2019-20 school will be suspended for all students. Perfect attendance for the 2019-20 school year will be recognized through March 13, 2020.
THRIVE Attendance: Attendance from March 23, 2020, until May 22, 2020, will not be factored into the attendance eligibility criteria.
Attendance for High School Final Exams: The attendance criteria for final exam exemptions for high school students will be recognized through March 13, 2020, for the Spring 2020 semester.
Enrollment: For current AISD students, if possible, we request that students maintain enrollment at their current Amarillo ISD campus for the duration of the school closures.
For students new to AISD, please contact the principal by calling your new school. If you cannot reach the school, contact Tracey Morman, Director of Counseling/College & Career Readiness at 806-326-1315.
The District has temporarily suspended school. Parents need to be advised that students will shortly be responsible for learning that will be provided by their home campus. Students will not report to campus starting Monday, March 23, 2020, through Friday, April 3, 2020. The District is taking a measured approach and will monitor the crisis on a week to week basis. Stakeholders can expect a weekly update regarding students returning to campus each Wednesday afternoon during this crisis.
The District supports the decision each family makes to manage the health and wellness of their household. Once back in session, AISD campuses will accept a written excuse from parents for student health absences related to precautions taken around COVID-19. Through the State of Texas, the District has automatically been granted a waiver for 90% compulsory attendance requirement because of the impacts of COVID 19.
AISD internships and work programs have been suspended until further notice.
Medication Retrieval: Between March 23 and March 26, if a verified medical need or emergency warrants the return of student medications to a parent, AISD will make every attempt to facilitate this return. If a medical need/emergency exists, we ask that the parent call the campus principal. The principal will then consult with the AISD Director of Nurses and/or Deputy Superintendent to coordinate the return of the medication by March 26.
For all other medication returns determined not to be a verified medical need or emergency, parents should expect a phone call during the week of March 23 from the school nurse. The nurse will arrange an appointment with each family for medication return on Friday, March 27. School nurses will make attempts to arrange medication return times within the three established windows for pick-up of at-home learning materials and Snack Paks (7:00-9:00 AM, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, and 6:00-8:00 PM) in order to ensure social distancing measures. If medication returns cannot be arranged during one of the three established windows, the nurse will schedule an individual pick-up time for March 27.
Musical Instrument and Athletic Equipment Retrieval: In the coming days, each school will develop and communicate a process that will utilize “social distancing” guidelines for musical instrument and athletic equipment pick-up. Except in emergency situations, we are unable to allow retrieval of other personal items left on campuses at this time.
Amarillo ISD is working on elementary, middle, and high school approaches to “at home” learning. During the week of March 23rd, students and parents will begin to receive additional information about activities and resources for their “at home” learning. These activities will be completed either online, using technology, or on paper.
News and developments related to COVID-19 can cause fear and anxiety in adults as well as our children. The following link is a great resource from the National Association of School Psychologists to use in having discussions with children. Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (Page opens in new window).
All AISD employees, students, and families who have traveled or are planning to travel outside the Panhandle are strongly encouraged to let us know of their travel plans using the AISD Travel Reporting Form (Online form opens in new window). This form should be completed upon return to Amarillo, and will help by saving valuable time in the event we have a community outbreak and want to respond more quickly and effectively to protect our students and staff.
The District encourages travelers to take extra precautions when traveling. Our District will follow travel guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel website (Page opens in new window).
AISD is enhancing standard procedures for cleaning and disinfecting schools and will make sure schools are clean and sanitized before school resumes and students re-enter our buildings. In addition to routine cleaning, custodial crews are regularly disinfecting tables, chairs, desks, cabinets, door handles, restrooms, sinks, water fountains, and other frequently touched areas, as suggested by local and state health officials and the Texas Education Agency. The District recently secured a limited supply of new electrostatic sprayers that will cover large areas with pathogen killing capabilities to reduce the potential spread of viruses and germs.
The District has temporarily suspended school. Parents need to be advised that students will shortly be responsible for “at-home” learning that will be provided by their home campus. Students will not report to campus starting Monday, March 23, 2020, through Friday, April 3, 2020. The District is taking a measured approach and will monitor the crisis on a week to week basis. Stakeholders can expect a weekly update regarding students returning to campus each Wednesday afternoon during this crisis.