ROCKFORD, Tenn. (WATE) — When COVID-19 shut down schools back in March, an elementary school principal in Blount County rallied his staff, students, and families by using social media to keep them informed and engaged.
WATE 6 On Your Side met up with Chad Tipton at Rockford Elementary to see why parents call him a hero.
The school is unnaturally quiet right now, waiting to one day reopen. The only sounds come from the Captain America-themed office of Principal Tipton, who still reports to work to do the daily announcements, dressed as some of his favorite characters.
Donning a wig and shiny sunglasses, Tipton does his best Elvis impersonation to read announcements. He’s also dressed up as Mr. Rogers, the Beach Boys, Fred Flintstone and more.
There’s a mission behind his social media messages.
“When it was announced that we were going to use a remote learning platform, I realized that I wanted to keep things as close as normal for our kids as possible, and I wanted our parents to understand through our morning announcements there would be very important information they would need throughout this nine weeks of virtual learning,” Tipton told us.
The school’s marquee serves as a daily reminder for families to check Twitter and Facebook for Tipton’s announcements about remote learning, surveys for parents, and information on food programs for students offered by regular drive-thrus at the school or delivery by the principal himself, who says, “we just make sure if they need anything, we try to get that to ’em.”
All of these things don’t go unnoticed by parents like Misti Carden, who nominated Tipton for our Hero award.
“He keeps the kids so entertained and happy,” she says. “He takes time out of his day to actually sit down and read books to them. He’s just a very caring person.”
Like his comic book favorite, Chad Tipton just wants to do what’s right, encouraging others to be a hero, sharing the spotlight with his hardworking staff.
“This is just as much their nomination as it is mine, but I am very, very humbled and flattered,” he says.
If you’d like to make a donation to the nutrition program: www.riorevolution.com
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