Gulfport Public Schools fully prepared for virtual learning

"We will be able to provide our students with live classroom lessons," said Tiara Sawyers.
Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:40 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As parents and students in Gulfport Public Schools prepare to head back to the classroom this week, many will do so virtually.

With distanced and virtual learning dominating the education system, many educators are hopping on the bandwagon and are ready to adopt a new way of learning.

Despite last year’s school ending, teachers this time around are well-prepared for the new challenges and experiences that may come from virtual teaching and learning.

“Well it’s definitely different from March because we won’t just be passing out packets,” said Tiara Sawyers, Pass Road Elementary, fourth grade virtual lead teacher. “We will be able to provide our students with live classroom lesson.”

According to Anna Katherine Peel, Pass Road Elementary third grade virtual lead teacher, a live classroom lesson isn’t where the excitement ends for today’s students.

“They are participating and can speak to students in the class. They can speak to the teacher. If they start talking, it’s going to come in through our sound and we’ll be able hear them and interact with them,” said Peel. “If they raise their hand, their hand pops up to the top of that screen and we can see immediately that this child needs our attention,”

Even in a virtual environment, Peel can still move around the classroom and be seen on her tablet. She uses this device called Swivl, which tracks her every movement. That allows the students that are at home, the opportunity to participate in a one-on-one setting as if they’re in the classroom.

Regardless of how children at Gulfport Public Schools learn this year, they’ll all be included.

“Using Zoom and using Google, the students are still able to interact with each other. That was something that wasn’t necessarily happening in March because everything was so new. And we were coming up with a plan then,” said Peel. “Now we’ve been able to have the whole summer to prepare and it’s going to be an amazing program. We have such a plan already setup to make it a success.”

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