By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent
From the founding of our country, through wars and the Great Depression, Americans have become known for their fortitude and willingness to help one another during times of crisis.
The Muleshoe School system recently demonstrated that spirit following a statewide school closing due to the coronavirus epidemic.
On Tuesday, vehicles lined up for blocks to receive packaged meals for students staying at home during the closing.
“Meals will be provided to any person zero years of age to 18 years of age this morning (Tuesday) beginning at 9:30,” said Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards in a newsletter. “Eight meals will be provided for each student for this week. Please have students or families come to the bus lane between the Junior High and High School.”
In addition to consideration for the students and their families, MISD also considered the teachers.
In a Monday night Board of Trustees meeting following a prayer for students, staff and community, the board passed a resolution to make sure all teachers, staff, custodians, educational assistants, secretaries, maintenance workers and bus drivers on the Muleshoe ISD regular payroll would continue to receive their regular monthly salary.
The board also took the opportunity to approve all teacher contracts.
“We are determining the best method to distribute the contracts with the recent dilemma. Please stay tuned, and we will be communicating about how to sign and return your teacher contract,” Richards said.
In addition to food for their bodies, MISD continues to provide nourishment for the students’ minds. Cars also lined up Monday so that parents and students could pick up the Chromebooks being distributed to students in grades 4-12.
“Every child will have a Chromebook, and virtual teaching of lessons will begin by Thursday,” Richards said. “We hope to get all students in grades 1-3 an iPad, and Pre-K through kindergarten will have learning packets.”
He added, “The teachers have just done a tremendous job of responding quickly. Other districts are waiting until Monday to begin online teaching.”
Richards said that as soon as Governor Greg Abbott announced the closure of school districts, the administration and three board members held a meeting using Zoom video conferencing.
“It was new and a little awkward for us to interact, but very effective,” Richards said. “The next morning, we had another larger Zoom meeting with more administrators. More results were accomplished. These two meetings created methods for our students to be fed and for Muleshoe students to continue learning.”
Richards expressed gratitude to Victoria Bomer and Balee Black for developing virtual training for Google Classroom for any teachers needing assistance.
“If you need any help with resources or technology, please call Mrs. Heathington or Mrs. Hinojosa. You can also contact Mrs. Bomer or Mrs. Black to guide you through Google Classroom.”
Richards offered kudos to members of Muleshoe city and county government for their roles in meeting the needs of MISD including Judge Sherri Harrison, Mayor Cliff Black and Chief of Police Gary McHone.
Richards then added a message that might apply to everyone in Muleshoe.
“Please stay healthy! Muleshoe students need you! Muleshoe Schools needs you!”