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Online learning here to stay with Gulfport Virtual Academy

As the Gulfport Virtual Academy’s first school year is wrapping up, applications for the 2022-2023 academic year are now open.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As the Gulfport Virtual Academy’s first school year is wrapping up, applications for the 2022-2023 academic year are now open.

The school district’s long-term platform for online education was inspired by the pandemic.

“In March 2020, we went out fully virtual,” Coordinator Jane Thompson said. “And we found that virtual really worked for some students really well.”

It took shape in 2021, offering online learning as an option for anyone interested.

“We feel like our students are learning better in this environment,” third and fourth grade teacher Mandy Moore said. “It’s a lot easier to focus on the academics when you don’t have, you know, everything going on in the background that you have in a regular classroom.”

About 60 students are currently enrolled.

“The district took what we learned about being able to do education and what didn’t work and then they kinda went, ‘How can we fix this and make this work for those kids that just really learn better in this virtual environment?’” mother Randi Smith said.

Smith’s son Lincoln is a fourth-grader in Moore’s class.

“I like virtual learning because I think it’s more my style of learning,” he told WLOX. “When you’re answering a question, there’s no one just sitting around you looking at you for the answer. It’s very relaxing if you ask me.”

Gulfport Virtual Academy is free for district students.

The enrollment process includes an interview with family members.

“Lincoln has really thrived with the virtual program more than any, probably any previous year that he’s had,” his father Adam Smith said.

The school district is accepting kindergarten through 10th-grade applicants now.

A tuition program is also available for families outside the district wishing to join.

The deadline to apply is June 1.

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