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In the rain, sleet and sunshine, the Mansfield ISD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) could be counted on to provide free meals to the community.

The free curbside meal service began in March 2020 during the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite operations transitioning to a virtual setting at the time, the student nutrition workers still ensured that kids had healthy meals every day.

“You get to know these families,” said Tammy Baggett, student nutrition supervisor. “You deal with them on an everyday basis when they come through. The kids roll their windows down, they talk to you, they smile, they wave. It’s very heartwarming.”

As students transitioned back into the buildings last fall, SNS provided free meals to all in-person learners and still served free meals in a drive-thru fashion for families who opted for online learning.

The free meals didn’t stop in the summer. From June 4 through July 30, all kids up to age 18 and adults with special needs up to age 21 can receive free meal bundles from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Three breakfast meals and three lunch meals are provided on those days.

“This has been a great experience,” said Tiffany Campbell, an MISD bus driver who worked with Student Nutrition Services during the summer. “There are so many details that the cafeteria staff does to service our students. I think it’s very good for the community.”

So far, the nutrition crew has served more than 1 million free meals to families.

That number will continue to increase because free meals will also be provided for all MISD students for the 2021-22 school year. Learners at all Mansfield ISD campuses will be able to access their free meals in the cafeteria serving lines as usual during their designated meal periods. 

“It is our passion. We love it. We love supporting the community,” said Baggett. “We love interacting with the children and parents. It’s just an awesome program.”

Although meal services will be free for students next year, families that might qualify for the Free and Reduced Price School Meals program are still encouraged to submit an application for the 2021-22 school year. Approved applications provide valuable benefits and services to children.

Whether a child is 4 years old or 12 years old, Mansfield ISD’s Camp Destination is ensuring students continue the learning process while participating in hands-on activities throughout the summer.

The camp, which started June 1 and will last through July 30, is housed at J.L. Boren Elementary School. Operating hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. 

Camp coordinators say the day is packed with adventure.

“Camp Destination is a place that we hope that the students come to experience things during the summer that are positive and fun and engaging and enriching,” said coordinator Ryan Murphy. “We created the camp to service the parents, but to also make sure the students have a great place to go that is safe and fun.”

Campers rotate through eight learning experiences every day. The various activities focus around science, technology, engineering, art, math and all-around creativity. 

Lily Luken, an incoming fifth grader, said her favorite rotation is called Express Yourself.

“We would mostly do crafts and drawings to express what we're thinking and our type of mindset and personality,” she explained.

On top of the daily activities, the students go on weekly field trips to local attractions like the Fort Worth Zoo, Top Golf and Medieval Times.

Camp organizers said they noticed students are making connections, and they’re making positive relationships with staff members too.

“Some of the students actually cry when they get picked up because they don’t want to leave,” said Murphy. “We're thankful that MISD parents trust us with their children that much.”

Camp Destination filled up to its capacity of 150 campers just weeks after registration opened in April. Since coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been lifted, the camp is expected to increase its capacity for next year.

After a year of no performances due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mansfield ISD’s student musicals are back with a new excitement.

This weekend, the Mansfield ISD fine arts department will be bringing the community a fun and witty musical, “Nunsense: The Mega-Musical Version.”

“They call it the humor of the nun, so there’s a lot of really fun moments,” said Dr. Chuck Roe, assistant director of fine arts. “We’ve got some great young ladies who are doing some excellent jobs as the leads.”

MISD high school theatre and band students have been working all summer to make this musical possible. The production is comprised of students and staff members from all of MISD’s traditional high schools.

Dr. Roe said his favorite part so far has been seeing the glimmer in the students’ eyes as they performing again and witnessing the strong bonds being formed.

“It really brings all of our students across the district together to do a nice and fun show, and they can kind of show off their talents,” he said.

For Chloe Williams, one of the lead cast members, the performance will be extra special. It’s the last time she will be performing as a high schooler.

“I’m really happy that I get to perform one more time before I go to college. I feel like it’s a big family, and it’s very nice and warm,” said the recent Timberview High School graduate. “I really hope the audience has a gut-wrenching laugh. I hope they have fun.”

“Nunsense: The Mega-Musical Version” will be performed at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, June 25 at 7 p.m. and then on Saturday, June 26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets will be sold at the door. General admission is $10. For MISD students (age 18 and under), employees and seniors, tickets are $5.

Proceeds from ticket sales go toward fine arts scholarships.

Dozens of Mansfield ISD students spent a week of their summer using their curiosity to make strategic solutions.

Camp Invention, which was offered in-person and at home, provided curriculum that builds confidence, develops problem-solving skills and encourages collaboration in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

It is the first year MISD has hosted Camp Invention. The program is geared toward students who will be in the first through sixth grades in the upcoming school year.

“We knew that our community was really interested in STEM, so we reached out to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and we brought it here to MISD,” said Ashley Kettler, an MISD librarian who is one of the camp organizers. “Kids are excited. They’re engaged. They are working together to solve problems that they weren’t even aware existed.”

From June 14-18, the MISD campers took part in various creative challenges throughout the day to hone their problem-solving skills and spark their creativity. Students said they made friends because of the collaborative projects.

“I made a lot more friends than I thought I would, and I’ve just been a lot more communicative,” said Aaliyah Allen, incoming fifth grader at Mary Lillard Intermediate School. “We get to create things not just using technology, but we also get to create it from heart.”

Some the learning modules included a solar bot, in which the sun’s energy made the device jump. In the Open Mic session, children found their voice and used their imagination to create inventions.

The hands-on activities of the camp change every summer. MISD organizers said they want the camp to continue in the district for years to come.

“We’re definitely hoping to bring it back and continue serving our MISD students with STEM,” said Kettler.

Camp Invention is a nationally acclaimed summer program by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The camp has been around for 30 years and teams up with certified local educators across the country to hold its sessions.

The camp is just one of the summer opportunities available to MISD students this summer. View all the programs on the MISD summer programs webpage.

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