Parents, Guardians, and Stakeholders,
In the 2017 Arkansas Legislative Session, our state government approved Act 862 of 2017. This act gave school districts a chance to develop a plan for alternative methods of instruction to be used on days when the superintendent closes school due to exceptional or emergency situations, whether it be inclement weather, a contagious disease outbreak, a utility outage, or other “acts of God.”
A district could develop plans that would show how instruction would continue if one or all of its schools had to cancel. By allowing districts to develop alternative methods of instruction, schools could avoid interrupting the learning process and not make up days at the end of the year.
As we have each year, our leadership team believes that these days can be utilized by addressing weaknesses that we see in data throughout the year. This work, which will be sent home when weather is in the forecast or when other scenarios occur, will give students the chance to practice on weaknesses they might have. Teachers will be required to work, whether from home or school, and be available to assist your child through email during school hours. Upon their return to school, students’ work will be evaluated for effort. Since these assignments are based on identified weaknesses, our main goal is practice and not a grade. If students need help when they return, there will be additional work sessions and time to complete the work before a grade is given. Our district is entering its third year of using A.M.I. days and we have seen great success utilizing this tool provided by the Arkansas Department of Education.
During situations that call for an A.M.I. day, work will be sent home and will be posted on our school webpage (markedtreeschools.com).
It isn’t our intention to keep kids working during the times that we are out of school from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. In all situations, work sent home shouldn’t exceed 40 minutes, total. Remember, this isn’t about a grade, but rather about spending time working on identified weaknesses. There could be circumstances that prevent your child from doing his/her work, but we will work through all of these scenarios with you. If we use A.M.I. days and you don’t have electricity and can’t communicate with teachers, students will still have the opportunity to complete the work upon their return to school.
On August 12th, our district was notified that our Alternative Methods of Instruction Plan was approved for the 2019-2020 school year. We were given five days to utilize as A.M.I. days. If school is cancelled, you will receive an automated phone call and it will let you know if we are using an A.M.I. day. Also, KAIT will distinguish between A.M.I. days and non-AMI days. Please know that if we aren’t using an A.M.I. day, that day will be added to the school calendar at the end of the year.
As always, we will monitor this new program and adjust it to meet the needs of our students. As always, we welcome your feedback and ask you to let us know how this works for your family. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principals or contact me. Our intention is to provide your child with the best education possible. We look forward to providing students with educational opportunities for learning to take place regardless of the physical location of the teacher and students.
Matt Wright, Superintendent