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Seen and Heard at the Febuary 2021 School Board Meeting

Posted Date: 03/03/2021

Seen and Heard at the Febuary 2021 School Board Meeting

February 22, 2021 – Before the Board meeting started, trustees and Superintendent Doug Loomis brought in a representative group of the AISD maintenance workers and custodians to express special appreciation to all members of these teams for their hard work and extra efforts at schools during the past week, one of the toughest weather weeks in recent memory.

As part of the Superintendent’s Report, Early Childhood Education Coordinator Brittany Hinz and teachers Tricia McSwain and Megan Neuberger described a virtual lesson bank that now contains about 150 lessons developed by AISD elementary teachers that are available for other AISD teachers to use in both virtual and in-class settings.

Special guests from the City of Amarillo, including Mayor Ginger Nelson, IT Director Rich Gagnon, and Planning and Development Services Director Andrew Freeman, presented information to the Board about two City initiatives -  a proposal for a City-owned broadband internet network that could potentially provide free internet access for essential services, including education, for Amarillo citizens; and a concept for revitalizing the Tri-State Fairgrounds and surrounding area, including AISD’s Dick Bivins Stadium.

Assistant superintendents Jessica Cardenas, Lisa Morgan, Sandy Whitlow and David Bishop discussed highlights of the District’s Annual Report for 2019-2020, which includes the 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), an annual report issued by the Texas Education Agency that compiles STAAR test scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, college-ready graduate rates, and other information related to academic performance of Amarillo ISD students.  Since Texas students did not take the STAAR exam last spring due to the statewide school shutdown, certain accountability/student performance information in the Annual Report is from 2018-2019.

In other business, the Board approved an architect to design a free-standing weight room on the east side of the Houston Middle School campus.  Most AISD middle schools have free-standing metal buildings that serve as weight rooms; Houston has been utilizing the basement of their gymnasium for a weight room.  Trustees also approved a contract with A&S General Contractors for the Wolflin Elementary School renovation project.  This is one of the last of the 2017 Bond projects and will include bullet-resistant glass installation, site drainage improvements and an improved parking/drop-off area for Wolflin.

The Board also approved the purchase of $968,744 worth of Chromebooks to be given to next year’s incoming 9th graders at all four high schools to continue the District’s 1:1 initiative.  The students will use the Chromebooks throughout high school and when they graduate, they’ll be able to take the Chromebooks with them if they meet the attendance requirements of the program.

Trustees thanked those who generously gave gifts and donations to AISD and its schools this month.  A total of $17,350 was given to various schools from 25Forty Foundation, CNS Pantex Plant, Mark Stringer, Amarillo National Bank, Smokey Joes (Kevin Sims and Ashten Bryant), Tascosa High School Basketball Booster Club, Education Credit Union, and Second Baptist Church.