By John R. Schirmer
Back on Jan. 22, the Nashville School District “missed school on a snow day, or a wannabe snow day” and used one of its allotted Alternate Method of Instruction (AMI) days, Superintendent Doug Graham said Monday.
Now, the district is using AMI days 2-6, Graham said, with spring break coming up next week. After that, the return to class will depend on decisions from Little Rock based on the coronavirus. March 30 is the tentative date statewide.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered all schools to close March 16-20, with the option of closing March 15 as well. Nashville and many others chose that option.
“We have plans in place so that during those five days, students receive instruction and have some academics and activities each day,” Graham told the school board Monday night. “We’re not sure what March 30 will hold. We have to be prepared. If we get word March 29 that school will be out longer, we’ll ask the faculty to come in on the 30th to do new lesson plans.”
The Arkansas Activities Association suspended all athletic practices, competitions, workouts and any other activities through March 29. The situation will be reassessed the next day to determine whether or not spring sports will be allowed to continue.
“I hope it gets a lot better. I’d hate to miss the whole nine weeks” with classes, sports, prom and numerous other events, Graham said.
The AMI assignments which students are working on this week “are relevant to what they would be doing in class. They’re not busy work. They’re challenging and relevant to class,” according to Graham.
Junior high Principal Ashley Riggs said the new math curriculum in her building “has lessons recorded by the author. Students can find the videos on YouTube. They have very good instruction.”
Krysta Parker, assistant principal at high school, said math teacher Mandy Brinkman has recorded her own videos to send her students.
State testing was scheduled to begin this week in K-2 and continue into April, Graham said. “I don’t know what will happen with testing now. Texas has already cancelled its tests.”
Intervention classes for testing have been underway since January to prepare students for the tests. “That has to be a concern since we’re not doing normal intervention now,” with the scheduled testing dates drawing closer, Graham said.
Nashville teachers worked Monday morning to make sure their AMI assignments were sent to students. The work will continue through Friday.
State law sets next week as spring break in all of Arkansas’s public schools. Most colleges also plan their spring breaks the same week.