SWARTZ CREEK — One good thing that has come of the COVID-19 pandemic is a lot of people are coming up with some pretty creative ideas for solving the problems the virus has caused.
One such problem at Swartz Creek Middle School is student access to the media center.
“Since the ‘hybrid’ students can’t mingle with the others, they pretty much have the media center to themselves four days week,” said Media Specialist Jessica Jewell, creator of the Dragon Wagon, a “blinged out” old, metal book cart that Jewell fixed up with a fresh coat of paint, a dragon decal, and a bicycle bell.
Because of the pandemic, Swartz Creek students had the option of choosing one of three modalities for the 2020-21 school year: face-to-face, online or hybrid. The hybrid students – who are in school two days every week and continue their education online the rest of the week – are further divided into two group; one goes to school Mondays and Tuesdays, the other Thursdays and Fridays.
“So, there’s only one day a week, Wednesday, for the face-to-face students to use the media center,” Jewell said.
And even with that, social distancing means only so many students can use the center at one time.
“There are not enough hours in the day for all face-to-face classes to use the media center,” Jewell explained. “So, there are still some classes who haven’t been able to make it to them.”
Jewell found the old cart in a storage area and came up with a plan.
“We have several of these carts, and they probably date back to when this building was built,” Jewell said. “They are in really bad condition, very dusty and grimy. They’re still used for storing old textbooks, they’re just not that pretty. I thought: there’s no way I’m putting my beautiful books from this amazing media center on this hideous cart.”
After consulting with Assistant Principal Melissa Titsworth, Jewell took one of the carts home, cleaned it up and painted it a “hot turquoise.”
She was searching Amazon for a red, fire-breathing dragon decal when she came across the adorable bespectacled dragon who happened to be reading a book.
“I was like, ‘Stop it! I have to have that!” Jewell said.
She loaded the cart with “some really fun titles,” and she goes from room to room, ringing the bell to signal the arrival of the mobile library.
“I think it’s encouraging a lot of kids who might not have been interested in getting a library book from the media center,” she said. “They’re coming up and checking it out. It’s something new and interesting. It took off even more than I thought it would, and it became an even better success.”
The pandemic has been rough on everyone, and everything is just weird right now, Jewell said.
“I’m just trying to find a silver lining and keep positive for the kids,” she said. “The students love it!”