Amarillo’s Ascension Academy transitions to online classes

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Ascension Academy is transitioning to all online classes during the postponement of classes ordered by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The private 6th through 12th grade school is one of the first locally to make this transition.

“We actually started planning for this before Spring Break, because we were afraid something like this was going to happen. Our teachers are going online, using Google Classroom to do all their assignments and post what students need to do. They’re also using Google Meet to do online classes,” said Bryan Bullard, director of technology for Ascension Academy.

Instead of waiting to see if school could resume April 3, Headmaster William Summerhill says the staff at Ascension did not want to waste time having students at home not learning.

“We did not want to have an extended break from school and lose the momentum that we had going into that, so we launched our Ascension Online today, so to speak,” said Summerhill.

A main concern many schools are facing is if students will be prepared at the end of the school year to advance to the next grade level.

Ascension says they are confident in their standards when it comes to both in person and online classes.

“We don’t do STAAR testing, so we don’t have to spend as much time on those kinds of measurements. We stay with our textbook and our curriculum that our teachers are organizing, and so they are pushing our kids pretty far. We think even if we were to stop classes right now, we are fairly down the road in what we would cover in the school year,” said Summerhill.

While Headmaster Summerhill describes this transition as a learning lesson for all, the main concern the school has is about the internet being able to handle all of the online classes it is about to encounter.

“One of the things we are really concerned about is the infrastructure of the Panhandle and even across the state. Is it going to handle all of these schools going online at one time and be able to teach lessons,” said Bullard.

Amarillo ISD is preparing for online classes by extending their Wi-Fi signals at its schools to reach surrounding houses and by placing buses with Wi-Fi around the city.

Canyon ISD has its staff working on online curriculum this week and are working to deliver devices to students who need them.

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