John Ward

Magnolia School Superintendent John Ward.

Magnolia School District personnel are working through the spring break to plan for education without students and teachers being in classrooms.

Magnolia schools have not been in session since March 16 after Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered them closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students received instruction last week through Alternative Method of Instruction (or AMI) packets.

Schools have been on their scheduled break this week, but will remain closed for an additional three weeks due to the emergency.

Superintendent John Ward said in an email to staff that the district has found its direction for the extended closure March 30 to April 20, when classes may resume.

Each Magnolia campus is creating additional AMIs using several methods to meet student needs.

“At this point, AMI should be focused on resources and opportunities to strengthen and enforce concepts. Our ask is to create transparency and availability to those opportunities and resources.

“We will not take grades or attendance during this time that we are out of school. This is per guidance from (the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).

“Our curriculum maps were reviewed last year to ensure that we cover the majority of standards prior to the start of testing. If there is content that is missed, we can cover that content when we return, whenever that may be,” Ward wrote.

“I want to emphasize a couple of expectations for our teachers as we move forward. Continue to make yourself available, and connect with your kids. Many of you are doing that in the most creative ways, and I applaud that effort. Please keep in mind those students who do not have access to technology and make an effort to connect with those students by giving them a call or sending them a letter,” Ward wrote.

Teachers have received detailed instructions on setting up individual teacher pages on the school district website.

CLICK HERE to see the Magnolia School District website.

“We expect that you take this opportunity to set those pages up as an additional way to provide resources to our students and parents. This is not only an effective means of providing resources and instruction during this time but also throughout the year as part of your instructional delivery.

“While our AMI packets will focus on core instruction only, your teacher page can provide resources and instruction for content-specific material for our students and parents. I look forward to seeing the creative ways you are setting up your teacher pages,” Ward said.

He praised Magnolia Junior High School English teacher Glenn Wootton for his work to create the teacher pages and hosting in-person tutorials regarding their use.

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