• Links to Important Information and Resources

     

    Letter to Parents regarding grading: April 15, 2020 (Español)

    Dear Amphitheater Parents:

    I hope this letter finds you and your children healthy and safe as we crest over the middle of our third week of our new educational and societal realities of remote learning and social spacing. I know that this new way of “school” has not been easy thus far, and I know that the challenges continue. I first want to thank you for all the patience, kindness and efforts on your part as we continue to work together to face those challenges for the ultimate benefit of our children.

    I am writing to inform you about one such challenge: that being, what approach should be taken in the assessment and grading of student work and achievement during this very different way of conducting learning. The realities of our circumstances and those of our students who had to make an abrupt shift to “remote learning” beg for a commonsense approach to grading. Consequently, on Tuesday, April 14, the Governing Board of the Amphitheater District approved a new direction in grading and reporting practices for the remainder of this academic school year.

    The direction approved by our Governing Board recognizes that many supports and services normally in place for students have been significantly altered or diminished, such that students cannot receive their full and intended benefits. We also know that all students are unique and individual learners, and their personal circumstances vary, which also impacts their achievement in this current situation. Finally, we also recognize that our teachers and other educators are detached from some the supports and resources they would typically need to provide students with complete learning opportunities.

    Given this backdrop, the Governing Board has approved the following approach to grading and reporting practices for the remainder of the school year.

    Elementary (Grades K to 5) Students:

    • The report card for the fourth quarter will largely be in a narrative, descriptive format. To ensure future understanding of the changes in grading, the report card will include a general statement about the school closure.
    • Teachers will also provide feedback to students throughout the quarter as work is submitted and/or online progress is made.
    • Fourth and fifth grade students will not receive letter grades this quarter. The variance in student learning conditions (access to technology, etc.) make fair and consistent letter grading very difficult at this time.
    • Teachers will not be assigning a standards based grade for each standard for any grade level this quarter. In fact, there may be very few standards based grades marked on the report card for many students.
    • For students who are able to work online, a report on their accomplishments within the online curriculum will be provided to the parent with the fourth quarter report card.
    • Students will not be penalized for lack of access to online learning programs.
    • Art, music and physical education teachers will not be providing grades this quarter. They will continue to provide enrichment and content activities and assignments for learning at home.

    Secondary (Grades 6 to 12) Students:

    • Students’ third-quarter grades, which were in place prior to school closure, will be used as a baseline grade for the remainder of the Spring Semester.
    • For the remainder of the Spring Semester, the focus for middle and high school students will be on maintaining or improving from the third quarter baseline through the continuing fourth quarter work.
    • Students who do not complete work and/or participate in assigned activities during the fourth quarter may see their grade go down from the baseline.
    • Students will be permitted to email their teachers regarding any missing work from third quarter that might still be accepted for grade improvement from the baseline.

    There is also an understanding, which will inform all grading practice, that students and families have unique circumstances that may impact the ability of the students to participate in online learning or other methodologies. Those circumstances must be taken into consideration to address the implications of the same. More than ever, we are all committed to helping students complete the year successfully.

    I hope this information is helpful to you and your families. Should you have any questions about the meaning of this letter or its application to your child’s situation and grade, please consult with your school principal, as they were involved in the development of these grading standards.

    Stay safe and well, and persevere, Amphi families! We will all be together again on the other side!

    With appreciation,

    Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
    Superintendent

     

    Update: March 30, 2020

    The following message was delivered to families by phone on the evening of March 30, 2020. (Español)

    Good evening, Amphitheater District Families.

    This is Todd Jaeger, Superintendent of the District. As you may have heard, earlier today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that all public schools will now remain closed through the end of the school year. I’m calling tonight to assure you, however, that although our school buildings are closed to students and the public, the teachers and other staff of the District still remain committed to educating your children—our children -- to the very best of our ability under these extraordinary circumstances.

    A few days ago, we sent you a Family Handbook which outlines what our educational programs will look like for what will now be the next several weeks.  This handbook is available at www.amphi.com.  Today’s announcement by the Governor does change the landscape a bit, so I also encourage you to check our website frequently, as plans may evolve as we navigate this new way of teaching.

    While the extended closure mirrors what has happened in other states, and while we know that it is a necessary action, I also want you to know that we were very saddened by the extended closure. We know this is hard on you as parents and guardians. We know this is difficult for our students who miss their educators, classmates and normal way of learning.  And, we are especially mindful of the impact on our seniors. Please know that we want to do everything possible to minimize the impact of these trying times on our students most of all, and we would welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have.  You can reach the District by emailing answers@amphi.com.

    I know you and your students have a lot of questions about what happens next, whether that’s regarding grades, graduation, events, refunds, or something like retrieving personal items from school.  We are working through all of these questions, and we are making thoughtful decisions as fast as we can. I promise you we will provide you information as soon as we have it. 

    In the meantime, I want you to know that we miss your children and that, like you, we want what’s best for them.  At this time, that means keeping our distance—physically. Nonetheless, we remain committed to staying connected in as many ways possible, whether that’s online, on the phone or through good old fashioned pen and paper. For more than 126 years, the Amphitheater District has been here for the children of this community.  We still are.  We are here for them, and we are here for you.

    Thank you for trusting us during this unprecedented time.

    Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
    Superintendent

    Update: March 22, 2020

    Dear Amphitheater District Community:

    The recent weeks have demonstrated how incredibly unpredictable these times are, and how important it is that we all stay very aware of the very latest developments and their impacts upon our lives.  That is certainly true with respect to our schools and the education of our children.  I am therefore writing to provide you with another update on the near future in our District.

    Just a few days ago, Governor Ducey extended the closure of Arizona’s schools until April 13, which will constitute three weeks of closure for Amphitheater after our scheduled Spring Break this past week.  We realize the obvious challenges this presents for your families, just as it presents growing challenges for our schools, teachers and other staff as we work to maintain educational continuity and high-quality learning opportunities for your children.  To meet this challenge will require a wholly different approach which is focused on remote learning.  We ask for your patience as we make this shift, because it will require substantial adjustments in teacher planning and student differentiation.  We also recognize that remote learning carries its own inherent burdens for families, so we will be doing our very best to concentrate our efforts on lessons which provide the most important learning impacts.

    For this coming week, March 23 to 27, our focus will be to help you keep your students engaged in the learning process through educational enrichment activities and programs.  You will find a significant number of resources available to support your students on our District website, and we will also be making allowances for students who have limited access to technology.  In addition, your child’s teacher or school may also post suggested resources on their individual school or classroom websites.  In the weeks that follow this coming week, we will begin implementation of remote learning strategies.

    Please also be aware that we care about all of your child’s needs, and we are mindful that some students will need the assurances of our school breakfast and lunch programs.  Our website contains additional information about how students can obtain free meals each school day throughout the system-wide closure at each of 12 specific school sites, whether they attend school at those sites or not.

    For generations, we have not seen a moment like the one we find ourselves in together right now. I have every belief that we will weather this time and emerge on the other end all the stronger for it.  It remains our honor, privilege and sacred obligation to help you care for your children now more than ever. 

    Yours sincerely,

    Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
    Superintendent

     

    Update: March 20, 2020

    The Governor of Arizona has extended the statewide school closure through at least April 10. All Amphitheater schools will be closed to students in accordance with this directive.

    Teachers will be providing learning materials throughout the closure. You may see some materials provided for your children as soon as early next week. We will build on this as teachers return from Spring Break and have more time to develop lessons and activities.

    The District has online programs that students use regularly in the classroom, and we will provide some of those resources for use at home for students who have Internet access and devices. For students who don’t have Internet access, teachers will prepare materials to be sent home.

    You can expect to hear from your schools and teachers next week with more specific information. It’s important that you monitor the channels that your teachers typically use to communicate with you regularly.  These may include email, texts, phone calls, etc.

    We will continue to offer free meals to children 18 and younger. Please find information about sites and times at here. Please also check this website for updates as things change. You can also find helpful resources, including educational resources for families, here.

    Please also feel free our email hotline, answers@amphi.com, for questions and concerns.

    Thank you once again for your patience and understanding as we work to provide everything we can to help our students through this crisis.

    Phone/email message for Amphitheater families from March 19, 2020

    Dear Amphitheater Families:

    We want to remind you that the Governor of Arizona has ordered that all schools in the state be shut down next week due to the COVID-19 virus. Schools are closed March 23 to March 27 under the Governor's directive.

    Please be assured that Amphitheater leadership, principals and teachers are working hard to ensure every child receives educational experiences during the mandated closure. We will share specifics on this when staff members return from Spring Break next week.

    The District will also be providing free meals for children 18 years and younger at several school sites. The grab-and-go meal services will begin on Monday, March 23. Please see www.amphi.com for a list of locations and times.

    If you would like to pick up medications your child has stored in the health office, our staff will be available at each school site Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

    Once again, we thank you for your patience and understanding. We are doing our best during this unprecedented time, and we know you are, too.

    If you have questions or concerns, please email them to answers@amphi.com. We will do our best to help.

    Please note that this message can also be found at www.amphi.com.

    Amphitheater Employees: Please see the Employee Information section for updates. If you are on a desktop, the section is on the left. If you are on another type of device, you will find it by tapping the three bars at the top of your page.

    Information about ACT and SAT testing:

    ACT: The ACT test scheduled for early April has been pushed back to June 13 over coronavirus concerns. The organization that administers the test announced the decision to reschedule on Monday. Arizona high school students registered for the April 4 test will receive more information from ACT in the next few days, according to the organization.

    SAT: College Board has canceled the May 2, 2020 SAT administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled for March 28) are also canceled. Students who already registered for May, whose March test centers were closed, or who do not receive March scores because of any irregularities will receive refunds. In the coming days, College Board says, it will share additional information and details directly with registered students and test centers.

    Superintendent Letter:

    March 16, 2020

    Dear Amphitheater Public Schools Community,

    Since the announcement by Governor Doug Ducey yesterday directing all schools in the state to close, the Amphitheater School District has been working to address the immediate issues created by the decision, and we have been looking to the future as well. We don’t have all of the answers at this time. We are seeking policy and legal decisions from the Governor, legislators and the Arizona Department of Education to help us with some of our instructional and employment practices.

    We will continue to communicate with you as we receive new information. This is what we know for now.

    Impact to students and families

    • School, athletics, clubs, before and after-school programming and other in-person, school-related activities are suspended until after March 27. This includes athletic and club practices and meetings.
    • Starting Monday, March 23, we will provide boxed takeaway breakfast and lunch meals for all children 18 years old and younger at 12 sites. Please click here for details. We also sent this information to parents by email in English and Spanish.
    • We are reviewing potential mechanisms for providing learning resources to our students. These will not be a substitute for classroom instruction but will help students practice their skills and learn independently.
    • We are working on a plan to allow parents/guardians to retrieve student medications from their school health offices. We will follow up with more information.

    Impact to staff

    Because we are on Spring Break this week, our focus is on the extra week we will now be closed. We understand that this closure may cause stress to many of our employees. Please know that you are a top priority and our goal is to minimize the impact of this decision on our employees’ personal financial situations.

    We will notify all employees about when they should report to work as soon as we have the information we need to make those decisions. Again, we are anticipating additional information from our state government to guide us on what we can do legally in both employment and educational issues.

    We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this challenging time together. Please check www.amphi.com for the latest information. We will also continue to email you and post on our social media platforms. If you have questions or concerns, remember that you can use our email hotline to reach us: answers@amphi.com.

    Thank you,

    Todd Jaeger, J.D.

    Superintendent
    Amphitheater Public Schools