Arkansas parents adjust as AMI learning becomes new normal

ARKANSAS, USA — Monday was the end of spring break and the start of Alternative Method of Instruction, or AMI days for many students in Arkansas.  

The governor’s office and Commissioner Johnny Key extended AMI days for 15 days because of COVID-19.

“Learning right now looks different than it does in a traditional classroom,” Arkansas Department of Education Assistant Commissioner for Learning Services Stacy Smith said.

This week, educators across the state are making sure students have the tools they need to succeed at home.

“Everybody just needs to give themselves a little bit of grace and time. We don’t expect the parents to become the new teacher, but we expect educators to be able to provide resources,” Smith said.

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AMI days will look different across the state as teachers use Distance Learning or distribute packets of work.

“You have teachers actually calling parents or calling students and doing zoom calls with students or small groups of students,” Smith said.

If you have questions, there’s a newly setup AMI Hotline which will be manned from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 1-833-353-6050.

Benton Junior High is implementing several ways to submit assignments like emailing teachers photos of work and using Google Classroom. 

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“They put out a dropbox with a panther on it in front of the school so those that are turning in their assignments that are paper assignments. And, all you have to do is put your name on it and they’ll make sure that it gets to the appropriate teacher. But I think that’s just another way that we’re all trying to make this all work,” Benton Public Schools PIO Isabella Bradley said.

Benton Public Schools will also be distributing devices to students who need one this week. 

“School districts across the state are still learning, trying to figure out how we can make sure every student is truly accommodated. We know Wi-Fi is a big issue right now,” Bradley said.

If you have questions about education programming or lessons, you can find more information or contact the help desk here: http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/divisions/learning-services/alternative-methods-of-instruction