We all understand the importance of education for our children. With schools in Arkansas currently closed until April 17th to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, keeping children on-track with their education is a unique challenge. 

Alternative Methods of Instruction in Arkansas: 

Stacy Smith, the Assistant Commissioner of Learning Services for the Arkansas Department of Education, recorded a video regarding Alternate Methods of Instruction (AMI) for extended learning days due to COVID-19. To watch, click HERE or on the image below. 

Arkansas PBS is partnering with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to fill the learning gap caused by school closures around the state.

On Monday Arkansas PBS began broadcasting “Arkansas Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI)” statewide. 

These broadcasts are streamlined, curriculum-based programming for the state’s pre-K through 8th grade students. 

The content of "Arkansas AMI" aligns with current state and federal standards and is flexible enough to serve as both supplemental and as primary instruction for students, based on the needs of school districts. All lesson plans are being developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Educators and parents will have access to bilingual lesson plans and curriculum materials tailored to the PBS content to HERE

"Arkansas AMI" will air Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on your local PBS station.

The daily schedule beginning weekdays at 8 a.m. will be divided into the following programming blocks:

8-9:30 a.m.: Grades Pre-K-2
9:30-11 a.m.: Grades 3-5 
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Grades 6-8

There are some gaps in coverage, for example, in the West Memphis and Texarkana areas. However, all of the content is available online HERE and will be archived for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Parents and students can also access all Arkansas AMI learning content through the Engage Arkansas PBS app for iPhone and Android. It can be downloaded HERE.

Five previous Arkansas Teacher of the Year winners will be hosting a segment of each AMI day via video. Arkansas PBS is working with these teachers to record instruction remotely throughout the state.

PreK – 2nd grade band host:
Randi House
Kindergarten Teacher, Conway Arkansas 
2018 Arkansas teacher of the year 

3rd – 5th grade band co-hosts:
Courtney Cochran
Principal in Cedarville, AR
2017 Teacher of the Year
Meghan Ables 
Teacher at Stuttgart High School
2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

6th – 8th grade band host:
Stacey McAdoo
9th-12th Communication/AVID Teacher, Little Rock Central High
2019-2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Incorporated into ALL BANDS with MATH GAMES: 
Joel Lookadoo
Math teacher in Springdale, AR
2020 AR Teacher of the Year

Department of Health School Hotline:

To effectively address concerns related to school closures and student-related concerns of potential positive COVID-19 cases, the Arkansas Department of Health has designated a hotline for school personnel to utilize to report concerns. 

School Personnel Designated COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-504-0155

Additionally, Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has designated a hotline number to address concerns related to the presumptive positive case of COVID-19 at ACH. 

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Hotline: 1-800-743-3616

For all other concerns, individuals should use the main COVID-19 Hotline number at the Arkansas Department of Health. 

MAIN COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-803-7847

Resources for Parents and Educators:

  • The Smithsonian offers free, high-quality educational tools to keep students entertained and engaged. Access HERE.
  • The Library of Congress provides resources to assist teachers in future lesson planning and provides families with free-books, author talks and more. Access HERE.
  • The National Gallery of Art gives families ways to engage with the Gallery's features online. Access HERE.
  • The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee has also released a guide with helpful STEM options to keep students engaged. Access HERE.
  • The Space Foundation’s team of educators has created a new webinar series now available for free online to help teachers and parents keep students engaged in learning while at home. It covers information like how to use Zoom, write grants, create a scale Play-Doh solar system, map with LIDAR, the basics of telescopes, and making space-themed crafts. Access HERE.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has created a comprehensive list of educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, and schools. Access HERE.
  • The Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy Educational Toolkit for At-Home Learning offers free online resources that can help children continue to build critical literacy skills while schools are closed. Access HERE.
For Students with Learning Challenges: 

If your child has learning challenges or special needs, learning from home can be even more difficult. The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities has a wealth of resources focused on making online learning more accessible, engaging, and effective for students with disabilities that can be found HERE

Free Access to Internet:

Both Comcast and Spectrum are offering free internet for sixty days so that students can use online resources to continue learning during the ongoing pandemic. Find out more information on Comcast HERE, and find more information on Spectrum HERE

Read With Your Children: 

If you are able, experts recommend keeping your children active, sticking to a routine, and reading with your children daily. 

The U.S. Department of Education’s "Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day!" tip sheets provide families, caregivers and early educators with research-based tips for talking, reading, and singing with young children every day. Access those tip sheets HERE

As families, communities, and as Americans, we will get through this together. 

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.