by Dexter Harper
A “Blue Ribbon” panel consisting of AISD educators, elected officials and NAACP President Floyd Anthony openly addressed the concerns of north side parents at the Amarillo United Citizens Forum last night. The forum, moderated by Prenis Williams, was brought about through the grassroots effort of Mr. Eddie Ray Dunn.
Mr. Dunn , alarmed by the portrayal of the Amarillo school system by his grandchildren, begun a dialog with other parents, students, community leaders and educators to identify problem areas.
African American history, disciplinary procedures, dress codes, TAKS test, books, Parent Teacher Organization and parent participation dominated most of the discussion.
Stan Chatman, Tascosa Cluster Executive Director, addressed the topic of Parent Teacher Organizations by stating that PTA’s and PTO’s are alive and flourishing in West and South Amarillo. Nearly all panelists agreed that a successful PTA would be reliant on more that parent participation. Palo Duro Head Girls Basketball Coach A.J. Johnson, “… we’ve had PTA’s in the past where the focus was not on the students …”
Another lively discussion was the availability of school books. Associate PDHS principal, Rosemary Bowser tried vehemently to dispel the myth that AISD students were not allowed to take school books home. The issuance of books is a campus decision, on campuses where books are not issued the student can request a set of books, says Bowser, or a parent can request books for their child.
Standardized dress code verses school uniforms, AISD board member James Allen explained the differences and why AIDS adopted a standardized dress code over mandatory school uniforms.
While none in attendance on Tuesday night expected immediate solutions, all were pleased to see the open doors and communication paths that could ultimately lead to a better school district for all AISD students.