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Cool School: Morningside Elementary School

(SOURCE: WPMI)

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This Friday, Local15 Today highlighted Morningside Elementary School as our Cool School of the Week! They are expanding technological horizons for the students, dancing with cops, and most importantly, moving off the state’s failing schools list! And don’t miss the performance from the Praise Dance Club and and the Hip Hop Dance Club!

TECHNOLOGY CLASS

While many people may take for granted the luxury of having technology at our fingertips, that’s not the case for all families. At Morningside, teachers are introducing many of their students to computers for the first time.

“They’re learning about the computers, which is the monitors, the keyboard, the basic things we take for granted,” explained Terry Wilson, the technology teacher.

Wilson’s technology class is the first experience many of his students have with the world wide web.

“A lot of the children may not have internet access at home, but what we want to do here is give them exposure to all the things that potentially will be available when they finally do get that option at home,” added Wilson.

Wilson starts with the basics of learning how to login, and before students leave Morningside, they are mastering Microsoft Office and online educational games.

“We actually get to learn something we might be able to use in the future!” said Dakarian Doss, a 4th grader.

Doss knows she will eventually need to navigate electronic records in her dream job as a nurse. She’s thrilled she already knows how to surf the web better than her mom!

“She doesn’t use the computer often!” explained Doss.

Although it may look like fun and games, the technology class is a vital link for their futures.

“They don’t want to leave! You can hear, they are very much engaged. They are collaborating over here, there’s kindergarten working together over here. They’re learning! This is useful, it’s fun, it makes learning relevant,” added Wilson.

Some students may go from not knowing how to turn a computer on, to making movies by the 5th grade.

DANCING WITH COPS

“JuJu on That School Beat,” a video of Morningside students dancing with Mobile Police officers, has taken the school viral.

Dr. Dumas, the principal, said she and Officer Anthony Williams came up with the idea to do an old-school vs. new-school dance-off between the students and officers. The idea was to help bridge the gap between kids and the men and women in uniform.

The Morningside students chose their dance to “JuJu on That Beat.” Then they stop and point at the officers who chose Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” to say that they will always be there for the kids.

“One of the things I realized with all of the negative publicity out in the community in the last year or so with the police and the community, I realized that we need to teach our students that the police are here to serve and protect,” explained Dr. Dumas. “Officer Williams helps to mentor our students. So when his car’s outside, it’s not for something bad, it’s for something good. And that’s amazing!”

MOVING OFF FAILING LIST

Students, teachers, and faculty have been working extra hard over the last year to improve their test scores, and they have officially moved off the “Failing Schools” list defined by the Alabama Department of Education.

A parade through the school and a pep rally from the B.C. Rain Marching Band was a celebration of Morningside’s big achievement.

“When you state that somethings a failure, people tend to give up. They tend to not have the enthusiasm. And so now that we’ve announced we’re off that list, you can see a change in the students attitudes and the parents attitudes,” explained Dr. Dumas.

The change started with incorporating the DoJo point system, which rewards students with points for good behavior, perfect test scores, and accelerated reading. If a student earns 200 point a week, they get to participate in clubs like basketball, choir, dance, game time, and more.

“I’ve heard parents say, ‘my son gets in the car and he’s ready to do his homework because he wants his DoJo points, and he wants to make the clubs.’ So some kids that wouldn’t do homework before, or wouldn’t behave well, are really working hard to earn those points. So it’s really making a difference,” added Dr. Dumas.

Now that positive energy has students fired up for this year’s ACT Aspire Test.

“We can see that they are making better grades. And in turn, we’re praying that it will really start to show a difference on the tests. Each year that they take it, we’re improving,” said Dr. Dumas.

After the big test, Dr. Dumas said the students will get a “Chill Day” with ice cream and a variety of toppings to reward their hard work.

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