Mustang Mania sets stage for school at Morton Middle
Morton Middle School welcomed students with Mustang Mania, a drive-through kickoff event designed to ease COVID-19 pandemic concerns. “We usually do a sixth grade practice day and do something for new students in the evening. Not being able to bring kids into the building, we decided to try this as an alternative to touch base with students and families before they meet somebody by logging in to a computer. It’s a good alternative to meet the teachers and have some fun,” said Associate Principal Andy Williams.
For three consecutive evenings, Morton teachers and staff rallied in the parking lot to greet vehicles and hand out supplies according to each child’s needs. For instance, everyone received a school planner and a free-and-reduced meal application, and those who signed up for Algebra I also took home a calculator. Meanwhile, art students picked up a bag with a sketchbook, watercolors, and such. Another electives teacher had folders ready for band, orchestra, and chorus students.
With Fayette County Public Schools starting back in NTI/2DL or distance learning instead of in-person classes, Chromebooks were among the chief supplies. Morton had surveyed families on their technology needs, finding that some students have access to a computer at home while others must borrow a device for their schoolwork. “We worked really hard to get them to kids who need one,” said library media specialist Alaine Carpenter.
Science teacher Rubin Jones, who leads the sixth grade Thoroughbreds team, said everyone he spoke with at Mustang Mania was excited about school. “We’re doing a Zoom team meet and greet before the first day for classmates and teachers. We’ll also do some breakout activities and try to establish those relationships,” Jones said. “It’s a new learning curve (with Canvas as the learning management system in NTI), but the main thing is taking care of the kids and getting to know them.”
It started during the kickoff as staff distributed bags of fresh kettle corn, a DJ kept the music hopping, and the Mustang mascot welcomed students to campus. “I hope it puts their minds at ease. There’s just so much uncertainty on the teachers’ part and the students’ part. Hopefully, they can see we’re all in this together,” Williams said. “Obviously our fall NTI will look a lot different as far as more structure and more consistency, so we’re hoping that makes the transition to online a little bit better for them. It’ll be a different year, but we’re looking forward to getting going again.”
(Posted Aug. 21, 2020)