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Seen and Heard at the December 2022 School Board Meeting

Posted Date: 01/11/2023

Seen and Heard at the December 2022 School Board Meeting

December 12, 2022 — The December Board meeting began with Trustees listening to several public comments regarding concerns about or support for the Amplify reading and language arts instructional resource in use in 34 AISD elementary schools. 

The meeting continued with a public hearing on the District’s Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan, or RIPICS, which is a state requirement every six months for every school district receiving ESSER (COVID relief) funds. Chief Human Resources Officer Chris Tatum said AISD continues to hold in-person instruction at all campuses and said the District is reporting only to Amarillo Public Health and no longer providing reports regarding COVID-19 to the Texas Education Agency. You can find more information about AISD’s return to school plan here.

During the Superintendent’s Report, Doug Loomis and Assistant Superintendent Lisa Morgan gave the Board an update regarding the Amplify instructional resource. Mrs. Morgan said an AISD Literacy Trajectory Committee was created last year that ultimately recommended that the District move to a knowledge-building curriculum such as Amplify to try to close achievement gaps.  Amplify is an instructional resource for elementary reading and writing that was vetted by the state, and that supports the state curriculum, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  Amplify was piloted in three AISD elementary schools last year, and this year 34 out of 37 elementary campuses chose to implement it.  Mr. Loomis said with Amplify all elementary students are exposed to grade level texts and rigorous, engaging lessons, and the new curriculum resource is already beginning to impact student achievement.  He said the District continues to work with parents and teachers to address any questions or concerns regarding this new instructional resource, and make adjustments where appropriate and needed.

In other business, Trustees approved a set of legislative advocacy agenda priorities that will call upon the Texas Legislature to reform the current school accountability system, update and reevaluate the system of funding for Texas public schools, and preserve the governance structure and local control of locally elected school boards. 

Finally, the Board expressed appreciation for $1,346 worth of gifts and donations given to various schools this month from Ron and Kathy Pekrul, Amarillo Area Corvette Club, and El Manantial Mexican Restaurant.