Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Alternate Methods of Instruction (AMI) for 2021-2022

Memo Information

Memo Number
COM-21-145
Memo Date
6/18/2021
Memo Type
Informational
Unit
Public School Accountability
Regulatory Authority
Ark. Code Ann. ยง 6-10-127
Response Required
NO
Attention
Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Bookkeepers; School Counselors; Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND)

Primary Contact Information

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No references available.

Memo Text

As per Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-127, the Commissioner of Education may grant up to ten (10) student attendance days for the public school district that has an alternative instruction plan or AMI plan approved.  With an approved plan, the district may pivot to an AMI day when the district is closed to on-site instruction due to exceptional or emergency circumstances such as:

  1.  A contagious disease outbreak;
  2. Inclement weather;
  3. Utility outage; or
  4. Acts of God.

Please Note:  AMI Days may not be utilized for ball games, funerals, early release, or any other day when a 6-hour instructional day cannot be accomplished.  Even if the district has an approved plan, districts may continue to close for weather days and make the days up at a later date (i.e. closed for snow day - no school, enjoy the snow with family and friends). 

The Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is accepting applications for Alternate Methods of Instruction (AMI) plans for the 2021-2022 school year.   Plans may be approved for up to five (5) years.  DESE reserves the right to rescind approval of a district’s AMI plan if DESE finds that data are improperly reported or the plan is not implemented as approved.   

An AMI plan outlines instructional practices that will take place during emergency or exceptional circumstances that prevent students from physically attending school on campus. The goal of the AMI plan should be to strengthen and reinforce instructional content while supporting student learning outside the classroom environment.   Effective plans address the involvement of all stakeholders including teachers, students, and parents.

 

Application:  Districts may apply for up to ten (10) AMI days per school year by completing the online application available in LEA Insights.  Applications must be submitted by Monday, August 16, 2021.

Steps:

  1. Go to https://insight.ade.arkansas.gov/Surveys/DigitalLearning/
  2. Superintendents need to log-on using your APSCN/SSO credentials.
  3. Click on Create AMI application tab.

The Superintendent will be notified through LEA Insights if the AMI plan has been approved.

Please note that as of June 15, 2021, 186 AMI plans have already been approved and are available for public viewing using the below URL:

https://insight.ade.arkansas.gov/Surveys/DigitalLearning/public

Click on the AMI Applications tab.

Reporting:

  1. All AMI days utilized must be recorded in eSchool and accuracy checked in cycle submissions.  
  2. Districts should document the AMI day, directions for parents, and the reason the AMI day is utilized on the district website and/or social media.  It is critical that the public is made aware of why the school is closed and the plan for continued student learning.

Monitoring:

  • DESE will monitor eSchool cycle reports and district websites or social media for accuracy in reporting.
  • DESE will monitor the implementation of the AMI plan to ensure the goal of AMI has been met.  The goal of the AMI plan should be to strengthen and reinforce instructional content while supporting student learning outside the classroom environment.
  • DESE reserves the right to rescind approval of a district’s AMI plan if the DESE finds that data are improperly reported or the plan is not implemented as approved.

Please see the following sections for additional clarification.

 

Approved Digital Learning Plan:

An approved digital learning plan does not substitute as an AMI plan.  Districts may not pivot to remote instruction under an approved digital learning plan.  

 

Early Release:

With or without an approved AMI plan, districts must follow Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-126 regarding early release of school due to emergency circumstances. Districts must also follow Ark. Code Ann. § 6-16-102 which requires that every school district have an average of:

  1. Six (6) hours of instructional time for a full school day or at least three (3) hours of instruction time for a half day; or
  2. Thirty (30) hours of instructional time per week. (example: early release one day, but lengthening the remaining four instructional days). 

AMI days are not permitted to be used for early out days nor should AMI days be built into the school calendar. Every school calendar must have a full 178 days of on-site instruction. AMI days are only permitted when the school must close to on-site instruction due to exceptional or emergency circumstances as stated above. 

Please note that Act 688 of 2021 allows school districts to elect to implement an alternate school calendar based on a total number of hours each year, rather than 178 school days beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. However, districts that opt to implement an alternative school calendar beginning with the 2022-2023 school year are not eligible for the use of alternative methods of instruction once they adopt the alternative calendar.

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