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04/08/2020

Students will continue with AMI packets and online packets for rest of year.
Department of Elementary Secondary Education (DESA) Updates
 
Continuation of AMI
 
April 6, 2020
 
The Governor announced today that schools would remain closed for on-site instruction through the remainder of 2019-2020 school year, and learning would continue through Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) for the remainder of the year.
 
Secretary of Education Johnny Key said the Arkansas PBS and Division of Elementary and Secondary Education collaboration to deliver Arkansas AMI for K-8th grade will have capacity to continue through May 1. This provides school districts additional time to move forward with their localized AMI plans. 
 
Key stressed schools need to be flexible, noting that students and parents will need teachers and administrators to be flexible in their schedules during this time. Districts are to provide clear guidance for their staff on the implementation of the district's AMI plan, and reasonable times should be set for content completion. Key noted the educational cooperatives and APSRC will be available to assist schools as they develop their ongoing AMI plans.
 
During the press conference, Secretary Key said schools are to focus on the essential standards taught up to the time of closure in core content areas such as math and literacy, and then coordinate the use of other subjects such as art and social studies to create engaging learning opportunities.
 
"This is a time for more emphasis on the support for learning and less on compliance," Key said.
 
Special Education staff are asked to stay in close contact with students with 504 plans and IEPs and work to ensure assignments are aligned with those plans as best they can. Further guidance will be forthcoming regarding other services including speech and occupational therapy. 
 
Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of online professional development at this time, which includes ensuring they have met the required Science of Reading training requirements.
 
DESE previously issued guidance that seniors in good standing at the end of the third quarter will be on track to graduate. However, Key noted seniors should still continue their work for Advanced Placement (AP), Career and Technical Course (CTE) and other courses to ensure they meet completion requirements. He also noted the state has received approval for Advanced Placement testing to be completed at home. DESE is currently working with ACT to schedule future on-site exams.
 
 
April 7, 2020
 
 
For districts that are utilizing Arkansas PBS as a resource for elementary AMI, Arkansas PBS and DESE plan to continue their partnership for developing content and lesson delivery through May 1, allowing districts time to prepare for the remainder of the calendar year. With an extended period of school closure, parents/ caregivers, students, and teachers will experience increasing challenges with remote learning in the home setting.