CMS teacher records rap video to encourage students during virtual learning

CMS teacher raps to inspire students

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools behavioral teacher is using his rapping talent to connect with students in a positive way.

Melvin Rendlemen is a behavioral modification technician, or “BMT,” at Stoney Creek Elementary School in northwest Charlotte. He’s also a basketball coach at Victory Christian, and created an intramural basketball team at Stoney Creek.

“Everything I do is wrapped around kids,” said Rendlemen, who has been with CMS for 11 years. His personality and creative way of thinking make it easy for kids to connect with him.

Rendlemen says he dealt with behavior challenges as a child, so there’s not much that kids can get past him. He also can understand them in a different way.

“I use my gifts and talents to push my kids in a positive direction,” Rendleman said. There was a song that used to play at “house meetings,” which Rendleman says were like pep rallies, that the children really enjoyed. Rendleman, also known as Mr. Mel, decided to use that song and create a rap video to encourage students during this phase of virtual learning.

The house theme is indicative of a system the school adopted several years ago. Students are placed into a “house” category by spinning a wheel. Whatever color the student’s spin lands on is the color house they’re in. “So every house has a different mix of grade levels,” Rendleman says, who is in the Purple House. The idea is to create a community within the school.

It’s not the first time Rendleman got students engaged with a rap video. Four years ago, Rendleman worked with students and teachers at Stoney Creek to put together a music video that uses the tune of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” The theme of the song is “Money moves,” which Rendleman says refers to any positive decision that is made to ensure a successful future for one’s self or others.

Last year, and for the past 10 years Rendleman has been a BMT, looked much different. Rendleman was previously able to see students face-to-face and monitor classrooms to make sure rules were being followed. He also processed referrals and issued consequences. He’s now hosting a virtual character education class.

Rendleman says he’s working with students to make sure certain virtual rules are being followed.

Hes hoping to come up with more creative ways to help students during this much different time of learning. While he misses the in-person interaction, he’s confident that he’ll find more ways to connect with students.

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