AISD receiving states recognition by winning first Emmy for ‘Secret Classroom’

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One area school district is receiving state recognition for it’s efforts in educating young students during the early months of the pandemic.

Amarillo ISD received it’s first ever Emmy for the ‘Secret Classroom’.

The goal behind the ‘Secret Classroom’ television series was to help reach younger students who don’t have devices or WiFi.

On top of doing that, the series has also won a regional Emmy and could be paving the way for the future.

“We were doing two shows a week for the whole month of May in hopes that it would just help our little kindergartners, first graders, second graders,” said Holly Shelton, AISD communications director.

At a time when school was all online and educating younger children was proving to be more difficult, Amarillo ISD began a television series on NewsChannel10 Too.

“We have a lot of families that didn’t have a tablet available at their house for their little one. Or maybe they didn’t have WiFi. So, we were doing paper packets and trying to reach everyone but it was a real struggle,” said Shelton.

One thing Shelton says most households have is a television that at least gets the basic channels.

“In March and April of last year we were so, disconnected and our communications team found a way to walk directly into the homes of our children, into their living rooms and teach a lesson,” said Doug Loomis, superintendent AISD.

As a gift to the community and to help in a time of need, NewsChannel10 offered the air time for the ‘Secret Classroom’ for free.

“This was not a difficult decision at all because it was the right thing to do for our community. We were all struggling to figure out how to do our best during COVID when it started and this just made sense,” said Brent McClure, general manager NewsChannel10.

Shelton says the ‘Secret Classroom’ saw instant success in reaching students.

When asked if she ever thought this series would win an Emmy, Shelton said definitely not.

“No, definitely not. At the time we weren’t thinking about awards or anything like that, we were just trying to solve a problem and help people,” said Shelton.

With the success of the ‘Secret Classroom’, Loomis believes this way of learning could soon be something of the future.

“I think it’s a great first stepping stone. It’s something we can build on as we think to the future ‘what does education look like and how do we connect with our kids and how do we connect with our kids and how do we build relationships?’ I think the ‘Secret Classroom’ is a great example, a shinning example of what that will look like in the future,” said Loomis.

Although the ‘Secret Classroom’ has since ended with school being back in person, Shelton says AISD wants to bring it back in possibly a summer segment.

As for NewsChannel10, McClure says the station is the station is 100 percent in to serve the community if the need is there.

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