BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — When principal Angela Morris arrived at LaMora Elementary School on Friday afternoon to read to her young students, she knew which book to pick.
As Morris sat down on a bench and opened the book, her secretary sat across from her, held up her phone, and hit the record button.
“Hi boys and girls. Today’s story is 'The Foolish Tortoise,'” Morris said. “And again it’s by Eric Carle who’s one of my favorite authors.”
Morris read the book, page by page for a few minutes.
She said it was her secretary who came up with the idea for Morris and other teachers to record videos of them reading books and then post them on the Friends of LaMora Park Facebook page.
“I’m very passionate about our children and making sure that they’re learning,” Morris said during an interview with FOX 17 on Friday. “When I was a classroom teacher, I really enjoyed reading stories to students so. So this gives me an opportunity to do that as well.”
Morris said the response has been great. They’ve been doing it since they were told to close the school building due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“(It was a) little devastating but I knew that we’d keep our kids fed and we’d keep our jobs at least,” said the school’s lead chef Tina Miller. “We've got to do it. We got families to take care of too. So we have to go to work.”
On Friday, Miller had passed out dozens of bags of foods to parents, each bag containing milk, chips, apples and other foods.
“We are feeding the children, breakfast and lunch, for three days,” Miller said. “Then we’re back Monday, Wednesday, Friday next week. Same time, same station. So, feeding the babies."
Immediately after closing the schools, Battle Creek Public Schools created a feeding program for their students. Seven schools were named food distribution centers. LaMora Park on Woodlawn is one of them.
BCPS Communications Manager Nathan Hunt said in an email that Friday alone they gave out 15,127 meals that should last each recipient’s family through Sunday.
“I’m proud to say I’ve been with this district for 30 years,” Morris said. “I must say I’m really pleased with how Battle Creek Public Schools has stepped up and provided our families.”
Morris added that with each meal that’s given out at LaMora, the staff is also giving away books.
She said it’s another resource to help their young students continue practice reading while the schools are closed.
“We want to tell our students that we love them. We miss them,” Morris said. “We really need them to stay engaged with their learning and continue growing. It’s really really important.”