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Seen and Heard at October 2020 School Board Meetings

Posted Date: 11/11/2020

Seen and Heard at October 2020 School Board Meetings

October 29, 2020 — At a special meeting on October 29, the Amarillo ISD School Board took action on two important topics. The Board adopted a new vision statement for the District and added a fifth core value.  While the mission statement, “To graduate every student prepared for life and success beyond high school” remains the same, the Board changed the vision statement to be more inclusive and more intentional about what AISD envisions for its students:  Our vision is to empower students to be avid learners, effective communicators, active contributors, and servant leaders, while nurturing compassion, resilience, and resolve in all stakeholders, and cultivating an inclusive society.  Through revisions to Board Policy AE(LOCAL) Educational Philosophy, trustees also tweaked the four existing core values and added a fifth one, Educational Equity, to demonstrate a commitment to creating an environment that is free of racism, bias and discrimination and that ensures equitable access to opportunities for all students. The five core values - *Excellence  *Resource Allocation  *Superior Staffing  *Community Engagement  *Educational Equity - are meant to guide actions and decision-making.

Trustees also officially named the new career center AmTech Career Academy.  AACAL Principal Jay Barrett said a planning committee decided to propose the name AmTech to the Board after surveying AISD students, teachers, administrators, and community members, and consulting with an outside marketing group.  Each part of the name signifies something about the mission of the new center, set to open in the 2021-2022 school year.  Read more here. And at


October 19, 2020 — At the regular monthly Board meeting on October 19, Superintendent Doug Loomis introduced two groups of teachers from Rogers Elementary and Tascosa High School, who talked about how teachers are overcoming challenges and finding ways to engage students and successfully combine virtual and in-classroom teaching.  Mr. Loomis and assistant superintendents also reported to the Board about student regression since the pandemic began.  While there are about 26,000 students physically back in classrooms, there are 5,000 in the virtual world and about half of those are not engaging, Loomis said.  About 1,000 students, or 2%, haven’t come back at all, either in-person or virtual.  “On beginning-of-the-year assessments, we’ve seen some real regression,” Loomis said.  “The transition years of 5th – 6th grade and 8th – 9th grade seem to be where the biggest problem is, but we are focused on finding ways to overcome this.”

Trustees approved the 2020-2021 District Improvement Plan goals and performance objectives, as well as Campus Improvement Plan performance objectives for each of AISD’s 55 schools.  All of the improvement plans are based on the needs of the students at each campus and are developed by committees of administrators, teachers, parents and community members.  The improvement plans also contain strategies and evaluation measures and are working documents that can be revised as needed throughout the school year.

The Board selected a contractor, Tri-State General Contracting Group, for one of the last of the 2017 bond projects – improvements to Austin, Crockett, and deZavala middle schools and nine different elementary schools.  Trustees also approved design schematics for ornamental security fences to be installed around the campus perimeter at Amarillo, Caprock, and Tascosa high schools.  These fences will be similar to the fence already installed at Palo Duro High School.   Trustees also approved an agreement with the City of Amarillo to install a pedestrian crossing signal across 34th St. from the main Caprock High School campus to the Caprock sports complex.   

In other business, the Board approved a Resolution for a Culture of Voting, to encourage employees and eligible students to exercise their right to vote, and they approved the purchase of another 4,500 Chromebooks to facilitate virtual learning for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.  With this additional purchase, every student in grades pre-k through 12 will have a Chromebook tablet.

Finally, the Board acknowledged gifts and donations totaling $6,796, given to various schools this month from Geraldine Kitchen, the Amarillo High School Track Booster Club and Baseball Booster Club, Fluhman Outdoor, Inc., Amarillo National Bank, Robin Gilliland, Alma Carroll, Wal-Mart - Store #822, Amarillo Association of Realtors, Tacos Guadalajara Restaurant, and Bill Elkins.