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Instructional Options

Instructional Options

During the pandemic, public schools must provide daily on-campus instruction and record attendance for students while following TEA’s public health procedures. Amarillo ISD elementary and middle school families will select from two options for their children while high school students may participate in a hybrid option of the two. Parents will choose from the options during registration; detailed information will be provided to parents.

Option 1: In-Person EdYOUcation Full-time in-person on campus with heightened hygiene and disinfection protocols.

In-Person EdYOUcation logoWhen schools are open and operating normally, students are scheduled to attend school on campus each day. Traditional in-person campus instruction and attendance monitoring will continue as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per the Texas Education Agency, in-person instruction must be offered for all grades served by the campus every day for every student who chooses the in-person option. Students will be scheduled into courses, including electives, offered at the campus.

**Contingency plans- Campuses or classrooms providing in-person instruction may experience intermittent closures which may require students to temporarily move to a virtual environment.

Option 2: Virtual EdYOUcation Full-time virtual learning with district-provided technology as needed.

Virtual EdYOUcation logoAISD will use a combination of Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction for virtual instruction.

Synchronous Instruction requires all participants to be present at the same time, virtually. Examples include live interactive classes with students and teachers participating real-time, teacher supported work time on video conference calls, as well as scheduled and timed online tests.

Asynchronous Instruction does not require all participants to be virtually present at the same time. Examples include self-paced online courses with intermittent teacher instruction, preassigned work with formative assessments on paper or in a Learning Management System (LMS), and watching pre-recorded videos of instruction with guided support.

At the moment, the only way a district can have full virtual instruction online is with a decree from the local health authority and an assurance that we can provide every household with a device and connectivity solutions. In addition, our current staff and parent survey results show a demand and need for both learning options.

Possible Option 3: Hybrid EdYOUcation A combination of both in-person and virtual instruction for High School Students ONLY.

For students in grades 9-12, AISD may establish a less-than-daily on campus attendance schedule as the sole offering for students in our high school campuses in order to reduce the number of individuals on a campus at any one time.

In the event AISD implements a Hybrid instructional setting, AISD will ensure that on-campus attendance is offered as part of the hybrid schedule at least 40% of the days in a typically 6 weeks grading period(s). All other time will be met through virtual instruction.

Note: This option was approved by TEA and communicated to Districts on Friday, July 17th.  The District is currently evaluating this option for the return of our high school students.

At the moment, the only way a district can have full virtual instruction online is with a decree from the local health authority and an assurance that we can provide every household with a device and connectivity solutions. In addition, our current staff and parent survey results show a demand and need for both learning options. 

All instructional delivery formats will cover the required curriculum per TEC, §28.002.

General Information

Students will engage in instruction that is a combination of both Synchronous instruction [live remote] and Asynchronous instruction [self-paced].

  1. When a student engages in synchronous learning, it is defined as two-way, real-time, live, instruction between teachers and students, through the computer or other electronic devices or over the phone

  2. When a student engages in asynchronous learning, it is defined as a curricular experience where students engage in the learning materials on their own time, interacting intermittently with the teacher via the computer, other electronic devices, or over the phone

  3. Learning must address all of the required curriculum per TEC, §28.002

  4. School grading policies for virtual student work must mirror on-campus assignments/grading policies.  (Unlike the Spring of 2020 where AISD students received a pass/fail/incomplete, AISD students will receive numerical grades for course work.)

  5. Students must be scheduled to participate at a minimum of 5 courses per day and demonstrate daily engagement to be counted as “present” for attendance.

  6. Staff will check daily for student “engagement.”

    1. Students who show engagement during the day will be marked as present

    2. Students who are not engaged during the day will be marked as absent

    3. “Engaged” means:

      1. Progress as defined by the classroom teacher for that day

      2. Progress from teacher/student interactions made that day

      3. Turn-in of assignment(s) that day

  7. Virtual instruction involves far more self-guided student instruction than in-person.

  8. TEA requires daily engagement. The following does not meet TEA’s requirements:

    1. Example - If a student only turns in assignments on a Friday, the student is only counted present for that Friday. If the student is not engaged on Monday-Thursday, the student will be counted absent each day.

  9. Some elective and extracurricular courses may have coursework that can only reasonably be completed in person, even if some components of the course are taught virtually, (i.e. welding). In these courses, the student will be required to come to campus to complete a required assignment or project, if the course requires assignments that cannot be reasonably completed remotely. Some courses may require virtual students to come to campus daily for that course, or even multiple times a day in the event the student is enrolled in more than one course that cannot be completed remotely. Transportation to/from campus for these courses is the responsibility of the parent and/or student. Students may also be required to obtain equipment from the campus in order to complete coursework virtually.

    1. The campus will notify parents/students before the start of the course since failure to complete the required on-campus assignments could cause the student to fail the course

    2. Students will have options to choose a different elective course that can be satisfied in a fully remote setting

    3. Students would need to be screened for COVID-19 and follow any other school requirements consistent with practices for other students

Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) that streamlines digital tools and content to help teachers innovate and students succeed. The Canvas LMS is what AISD teachers will use to deliver instruction to Virtual EdYOUcation students. Students will use Canvas to receive and complete assignments.

Canvas brings together students and teachers into one, robust, seamless, online learning environment. Here are some of the benefits to students by learning through Canvas.

  • Students receive instant feedback on quizzes and assessments, often with multiple opportunities to demonstrate success

  • Students will learn with others through discussions and live canvas collaborations, which bring students together for problem-based learning and other similar activities

  • Students have the capability to access lessons anywhere, at any time, by using the Canvas Mobile App to stay connected with courses even when the student is away from their Chromebook

  • Teacher-created instructional videos may be viewed in Canvas Studio as many times as a student wants or needs to view them

  • Students can access their existing Google Drive files

  • Students have one-to-one access to their teacher through live Canvas Conferencing, giving the student full support and access to learning by being able to meet with teachers when questions arise

  • Canvas provides skills that prep students for college and careers. Many colleges are moving to Canvas for their online classes and most careers will require the ability to collaborate online with co-workers, as well as continue to get training online throughout one's career.

Virtual EdYOUcation is a fluid option. It is highly recommended that students only make a change at semester, if possible. AISD will be limiting transitions back to an on-campus setting to coincide with grading periods. Changing options mid-semester may have a negative impact on a student’s ability to receive credit, especially in elective courses. However, when a student contracts COVID-19, is placed in quarantine, and/or recovers, students will be able to immediately transition from one instructional setting to another.

Campuses are staffing in-person and virtual classes in a manner that is manageable for teachers and that also supports continued student learning. When possible, teachers will be responsible for one learning method.

Students who select Virtual EdYOUcation will be required to engage and participate in the instruction process daily. Students must be prepared to engage in schoolwork a minimum of 5 hours daily. In the spring last year, students’ assignments were limited. Virtual learning this year will be a full course load of instruction and assignments that is equivalent to what students who are attending school in-person will be required to complete. Teachers delivering virtual instruction will receive additional training and support in digital teaching strategies and using online curriculum.

We will look at each child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as determined by their ARD committee to ensure that all goals, objectives, and accommodations are met on an individualized basis. For students enrolled in highly specialized classes, the district encourages in-person learning and will implement additional heightened health and safety protocols for these students and classrooms. ARD meetings will be scheduled to address any needed changes. All ARD meetings will be held in a manner to reduce the number of people on campus in a single meeting room, i.e. all or some members participating remotely.

We will look at each child’s 504 plan as determined by their 504 committee to ensure that all accommodations are provided. 504 meetings will be scheduled to address any needed changes.

Students participating in both in-person and virtual learning will be required to participate in state testing like STAAR/EOC/TELPAS, etc.

In the event the District closes a campus(es), instruction will resume virtually. Student attendance requirements can be met if remote virtual instruction is offered while the campus is closed. Additionally, District minutes requirements can be obtained during virtual instruction. Note: Because of the schedule of delivery of devices, Virtual Instruction of all District students may not be available until October.

At this time, the Texas Department of State Health Services has not waived the vaccine requirements for students whether they are participating in virtual or in-person instruction.

Students who choose to participate in extracurricular activities may choose either virtual or in-person instruction.

Not all elective courses will be available virtually. Please review this list of AISD’s 2020-21 Electives Classes to learn more (PDF opens in new window). Virtual EdYOUcation students will need to:

  • Select a course that can be taught in its entirety in a virtual setting; or

  • Plan to participate in an intentionally designed mix of campus and virtual learning

Students who choose virtual learning will remain enrolled at their home school.

AISD plans to provide meals for all of our students, whether they are learning in-person or virtually. For those receiving virtual instruction, meals will be available at their home campus. These meals will be served via a “grab and go” system. Grab and go meals will generally be the same meals as those served in the cafeteria, though some items may be different to maintain quality and food safety. Additionally, the student will not have to be present to receive a meal. Parents/legal guardians may pick up meals for students as long as they present a document that proves the student is enrolled at AISD. Examples of approved documentation include: an official letter from the school/district stating that the student is enrolled for the 2020/2021 school year; a current student ID; progress report; etc. Grab and go meals for virtual students will be charged to the student’s account, based on their meal eligibility status (free/reduced or not free/reduced), just as they are for in-person students.

The specific details regarding our meal service for remote learners is still being finalized; as official guidance continues to be updated. As more details become available, we will be sure to communicate them to our families.

Students in specialty programs may select the Virtual EdYOUcation option and still retain their specialty seats.

Some AACAL specialty courses may require in-person only instruction.

Students who qualify for Gifted and Talented services will be given opportunities for challenging learning experiences in the core classes both virtually and in-person. The Gifted and Talented department is working to create enrichment opportunities for students in and out of the classroom.

Update: Counselors finalize class schedules August 17 – 25, 2020, and schedules will be available in Skyward Family Access on Thursday, August, 27, 2020.

Counselors will finalize class schedules August 17 – 25, 2020 for those students who have elected Virtual EdYOUcation. Schedules for students who choose In-Person EdYOUcation were completed based on their course selections submitted in the spring. Schedules will be available in Skyward Family Access on Thursday, August 27, 2020.