GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Days before students fill the classrooms, Gulfport teachers are making sure they have everything ready to go. For one group of teachers, that means actually going out into the community.
The group became students for a day to go on a trial field trip that could become a reality for their students during the year.
It's an idea that Ashley Kidd and Jackie Wintruva got from a recent teacher workshop at Mississippi State. The program, called Impact 2, brings classroom material into real world applications. Kidd and Wintruva incorporated that idea into downtown Gulfport's historic sites.
"We want the students to be able to come out here and take what they know about math and apply it while learning more about the history of their town," said Kidd.
This is a strategy these teachers say can be used for any class in any school. By bringing students out of the classroom and relating their lessons to the surrounding community, the teachers hope to make an even bigger impact.
"We wanted to make it happy for them to come down and not even realize that they're learning math," said Wintruva.
The teachers experiencing the trial run seemed to be sold on the idea.
"Authentic connection, definitely," said Elizabeth Skrmetta. "It would just be something that they understand, which is their community."
With the city on board, Wintruva and Kidd hope to see an ever expanding program. First, they want to implement the education marathon in third, fourth and fifth grades.
"Hopefully this fall, we'll have hundreds of students running around downtown Gulfport," said Main Street Director Laurie Toups.
Toups said she's excited about the possibilities. She said the city faces a challenge to help inform citizens about the community's history and culture.
"This is just one more step in the challenge," Toups said.
This new effort is funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Education.