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Although Mansfield ISD teachers cannot be physically in the classroom during this coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown, they are still finding creative ways to teach and stay connected with students.

Mary Costa, P.E. teacher at Martha Reid Leadership Academy, did fitness challenges with her kids every week in class. When distance learning began, she wanted to find a way to keep that tradition going.

"Once we started this extended break, I was trying to find a way to still incorporate those challenges with the kids, so I made my first Facebook video," Costa explained.

She said she received such a great response from her video that she created her own P.E. YouTube channel.

"By making these videos, I was able to reach the kids and still make those strong connections and become their greatest cheerleader and their biggest fan," said Costa.

The coach noted that although her classes may look different now, her goal is still the same.

"Exercise should be fun, and if I can help it to be fun, I love it!"

At Erma Nash Elementary School, pre-kindergarten teacher Marisela Aramino wants to keep the love of learning going for those young minds. 

She is finding unique ways to spark conversation, expand vocabulary and get them ready for kindergarten.

"Their minds are little sponges. They're muscles that we began growing and expanding, and we want to keep that going," said Aramino.

Literacy and numeracy are a big part of the day-to-day lessons. Aramino said she is also using this time to teach her kids positivity despite the circumstances.

"I create weekly check-in videos, where I ask my students to tell me what they're happy and grateful for, and I share what I'm happy and grateful for."

The pre-K teacher said the students are at the beginning of their academic career, and she is continuing to build upon that knowledge through different home activities that can be done with or without the internet.

For the health and well-being of the Mansfield ISD community as measures continue to be taken to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), MISD schools, offices and facilities will remain closed.

The district will continue to monitor the situation and stay in contact with health officials and local authorities to determine a safe date to reopen.

For the latest information, visit the MISD comprehensive COVID-19 web page.

Mansfield ISD teachers and students had no clue that the days before Spring Break would be the last time they would see each other for a while.

Schools never reopened because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In fact, Texas Governor Greg Abbott closed schools through April 3, which later extended to a closure through at least May 1.

MISD launched its distance learning on March 23 to keep the learning process going, but teachers wanted to do something special to show families how much they are missed.

Before the shelter in place order that is now in effect in several counties, various Mansfield ISD schools hosted teacher parades.

“It was like teacher appreciation week and student appreciation week all in one,” said Jenny Roberson, principal of Judy K. Miller Elementary School.

Teachers caravanned through neighborhoods honking their cars, holding signs and waving to families. The kids waved back frantically as they saw all the familiar faces.

"They were jumping up and down, they were cheering like they saw celebrities coming down the road," explained Willie Wimbrey, principal of Annette Perry Elementary School. "Teachers and staff needed this just as much as the parents and students needed it."

The staff members kept social distancing in mind and did not share a ride. Students and parents were asked to not come close to the parade, and each student had to be accompanied by an adult near the front of their home.

Despite what is going on in the world, Lea Boiles, principal of Elizabeth Smith Elementary School said the teacher parades gave the community hope.

"It really helped us to face this with a smile in our hearts and on our faces and know that we really do love each other," said Boiles. "We were able to share that love with the community around us."

For the health and well-being of the Mansfield ISD community as measures continue to be taken to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), MISD schools, offices and facilities will remain closed.

The district will continue to monitor the situation and stay in contact with health officials and local authorities to determine a safe date to reopen.

For the latest information, visit the MISD comprehensive COVID-19 web page.

If you want to get students prepared for the real world, you have to give them real-world experiences.

The full-functioning, student-run print shop at Ben Barber Innovation Academy is doing just that for MISD students.

Blue FX gives students a real look into the world of graphic design and production. On one side of the shop, students create designs. On the other, the designs are printed out.

One of the newest features of the shop is an industry-standard automatic screen printer, which allows students to print up to 400 shirts per hour. Graphics design teacher Brandon Buckner said it is a game changer.

“We’re the first school in North America to actually have one of these machines, so we’re pioneers in that way,” said Buckner.

The new Roqdry Evolution machine has leading-edge technology that major companies use. Students said they feel like they have an edge on other students nationwide.

“It feels really special to know that we’re the first out there with this screen printing press and able to do the stuff that the big time places like Nike does with their kind of T-shirts,” said Cainon Neal, senior at Lake Ridge High School. “We can just do it here, make it ourselves and then distribute it among Mansfield. It’s really nice.”

The purpose of Blue FX is to give students the practical skills they need to create and print designs, but Buckner said he wants to also instill an entrepreneurial mindset in each of the kids.

Students are the ones who come up with the quotes, charges and marketing plan for the shop.

“My vision is that students are coming out of here with plans to build their own business day one after they graduate or create a business right here where they have me as a mentor teaching them through how to run a business, so that they can be successful after they leave here,” Buckner explained.

Blue FX services all Mansfield ISD schools and departments. Students are able to create a design from scratch or use a logo that is given to them to complete the orders.

The shop is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, email bluefx@misdmail.org.

The leader of primary and secondary public education in Texas made a stop in Mansfield ISD to see the transformational work the district is doing in early education.

Commissioner Mike Morath and other officials from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) toured the Dr. Sarah K. Jandrucko Academy for Early Learners on Wednesday.

MISD staff members gave an overview of the interactive learning environment. After seeing a presentation on how the prekindergarteners are seeing significant progress in literacy and numeracy, Morath experienced the fun for himself.

“It’s nothing short of remarkable,” said Morath. “The entire facility has been built with intentionality to create experiences for kids that maximize their growth.”

The commissioner is a parent of four young children. He said the Jandrucko Academy is a place he would love his kids to be.

“Everything here is constantly reviewed. It’s constantly evaluated. It’s constantly measured. This is not just loving on kids. This is loving on kids with a very intentional outcomes orientation, which is exactly what we want to see to maximize the impact of education.”

Morath toured some of the 16 experiences, typically called classrooms, and saw how each child was engaged in the lesson. Morath’s enthusiasm for the learning that is happening at the facility was Board President  Karen Marcucci’s favorite part.

“I could see that he was excited to be here,” she said. “He could see all the learning that the kids were doing in the classroom, and we were able to show him the great data of all the amazing things that are going on in our current pre-K center.”

Staff members said they are proud of the innovative learning happening at the academy and are honored to be recognized by the Texas Education Agency for a job well done.

“I’ve always known that the teachers who work in pre-K in Mansfield ISD and the staff are doing an incredible job,” said Kristi Cobb, director of early literacy. “But it does give you a sense of pride when you get noticed at the state level.”

The Dr. Sarah K. Jandrucko Academy for Early Learners opened in January 2019. The facility is categorized into four themed pods—exploration, investigation, interaction and navigation—to take foundational learning beyond the four walls of a classroom. View more about the school here.

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