GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Even if the pandemic is no longer a huge issue for classrooms, virtual learning is here to stay. What was once a temporary method of teaching, will become a permanent offering in the Gulfport School District when the new term begins in July.
The district will offer what is called a Virtual Academy, which is where teachers will be fully dedicated to only virtual learning.
However, that’s good news for Anna Katherine Peel, who has been balancing in-person and virtual teaching as the third-grade hybrid teacher at Pass Road Elementary.
“It’s challenging. It really is,” said Peel. “Because you are monitoring a whole class and trying to make sure your whole in-person class is on as well as your virtual students.”
Peel said the academy will be a big opportunity because it will help both students and teachers.
“I have students in my virtual class right now that just would be so successful in the Virtual Academy,” said Peel. “They’ve proven successful this year, but also they take charge. They take it their own pace. So, students in a classroom, they might get bored easily because we are working on a skill that they’ve mastered the first day we started.”
The program is being coordinated by Dr. Jane Thompson, the district’s virtual learning coordinator.
“We’ve learned a lot as we’ve gone through this,” said Thompson. “And we’ve found that virtual learning really works for some families. Some families want to stay at home with their child and be involved in their education and really take part in that process of learning.”
The academy will be offered to K-10 grade students.
And Thompson added that virtual students will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports and prom.
“We’re really trying to promote the social aspect of you can still be involved in school and still have this virtual flexibility.” said Thompson.
Thompson promised that the quality of instruction will be good and consistent.
“Everything we’ve been doing that has been historically great and has made us an A district,” said Thompson. “We’re going to continue that, but just through a virtual mode.”
Applications are being accepted through March 31.
For more information, you can visit their website or call Thompson at 228-865-4610.