The Southport Middle School staff and faculty rolled out the red carpet for their students as a ‘Welcome back’ to school for the 2021-22 school year.
“Our administrative team got together at the end of the school year and we were thinking about a way we can welcome back our kids because we don’t exist without them,” Andy Ashcraft, Southport Middle School principal said.
The administration partnered with Sophia’s Tux and Bridal shop in Southport, who donated four tuxedos and the red carpet.
“We’re incredibly thankful that we get to celebrate and show our students the joy that we have and celebrating them,” Ashcraft said.
He mentioned that it can be hard for students who have been learning online since May to come back to in-person school.
“We need to focus on our processes, getting our kids back to holding high expectations and not budging from them and being really clear and concise on what we expect from them,” Ashcraft said, “So many are coming back to school for seven hours a day, five days a week, that have had a break for a year and a half.”
Ashcraft is in his second year as principal and he said his staff have been wonderful to work with and that this year is going to be a ‘re-do’ of his first year after getting sent home due to COVID-19.
This year, although more normal, Pat Mapes, superintendent of Perry Township Schools asks that parents be flexible with the school.
“We ask that our parents make certain that the students come to school each day with a mask, if they’re riding the bus they have to have a mask because of the federal mandate,” Mapes said. “Even though we’re a mask optional (school) if we start getting a bunch of positive cases in a building, we reserve the option to mask up.”
Mapes also said the school year will be about getting students caught up with information they were not able to present to them last year.
“When we only had our secondary kids in school for about 64 days of in-person instruction, we know there were pieces of information and skill sets, especially with mathematics that you just need to be in person to present and understand,” Mapes said.