A few months ago Amarillo seniors were excited for the end of the school year. They had proms and graduation to look forward to. They were ordering their caps and gowns and shopping for dresses. Then Spring Break got here and the beginning of the end of the hopes of returning to the classroom.
Amarillo Independent School District came up with a plan that would help with the chances that the Class of 2020 may still get a live graduation and a prom. This is great news.
There is a back up to having a virtual graduation if this pandemic is not over. Let’s hope that it it.
April 24, 2020
Dear Class of 2020
We visited virtually with some of our seniors this week and they told us they want the time- honored, traditional, face-to-face graduation ceremony, if that’s possible.
To start celebrating the Class of 2020 now, we will distribute caps and gowns the week of April 27. Your school will contact you with times to pick up your cap and gown. During the week of May 11, we will arrange a time for you to have a formal picture taken in your cap and gown, as well as a video of you receiving your diploma. You will each be given an 8X10 copy of the formal picture as a gift from AISD and the video will be used in the virtual graduation video explained in detail below. We also plan to print individual graduation signs to place in your yard at home to symbolize your accomplishment as a 2020 graduate. Lastly, we will hang banners at each high school celebrating the Class of 2020. For all these activities, we will be sure to have social distancing measures in place.
Because of continued social distancing and rules prohibiting large group gatherings, we are postponing graduation ceremonies until later in the summer. We hope to be able to host the traditional, in-person ceremonies in June or July, but only if social distancing orders have been lifted or modified by then.
We’ve secured with the Civic Center four dates in June – June 17, 18, 19, and 20 – when we may be able to host graduations. Prom would also be on these dates, at each of the high schools. Having these events in June is dependent upon whatever executive orders or social distancing guidelines may be in place at that time.
The format of graduation ceremonies will likely change too, to accommodate any social distancing rules that might still be in place. For example, we may have to limit the number of spectators or the number of graduates who are recognized at one time. We’ll try our best to let you know by June 8 whether we can have graduation in June.
If it turns out that we can’t host traditional commencement ceremonies in June, we’ve also reserved the Civic Center for July 27, 28 and 29 for graduations. Prom would be conducted at the high school campuses on these days. We hope to let everyone know by July 15 whether we can host graduations in July.
July will be the last opportunity for a face-to-face, traditional graduation ceremony. However, regardless of whether we have a traditional ceremony in June, July, or not at all, we will put together a special virtual graduation video for each high school that will incorporate most of the elements of the traditional ceremony, such as special music, valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, class gift presentations and the pre-recorded video of each graduate receiving his or her diploma. This ‘virtual’ ceremony will be broadcast in July via YouTube and social media to all graduates, parents and families, and the broader community.
Finally, a word about class rank and GPA. These will be calculated from the final transcript grades through the 2019 fall semester. You will need to complete all courses in your graduation plan to receive credit for graduation, but grades earned in the 2020 spring semester will not count toward class rank or GPA. Please visit with your principal or counselor for more information or if you have questions about Graduation 2020 or your final transcript grades.
I am proud of each and every one of you and of your achievements this year and throughout your career in AISD. You have earned the right to be honored, and my promise to you is that we will do whatever we can to make graduation for the Class of 2020 a special and memorable occasion.
Sincerely,
Doug Loomis
Amarillo ISD Superintendent
To Graduate Every Student Prepared For Life and Success Beyond High School
So let's hope for the ending that our seniors from the Class of 2020 really want. Amarillo Independent School District is doing everything that they can to make that possible.