Gulfport School District - Pandemic Partnership Response
As the world seemed to stop on that day, March 14, 2020, when Governor Tate Reeves issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency for the state of Mississippi, life as we once knew it came to a screeching halt. The ding of slot machines in casinos silenced, the bustle of cars on the highway depleted, the sands of beaches on the coast abandoned. However, the most horrifying silence was that in the halls of our schools.
The forced closures of public schools resulted in an unprecedented disruption in K-12 education. That, however, did not stop the students of Gulfport School District from having access to quality educational materials and instruction. Superintendent Glen East called for and orchestrated the distribution of such materials by reminding the district faculty and staff, “...we must continue to plan and prepare to respond in the best interest of our students and our employees.” While access to certain materials such as workbooks would be easy enough, providing access to valuable virtual instruction would create more of a challenge due to a lack of internet access in many homes. Providing equitable access to instruction and educational opportunities did not stop the Gulfport School District.
So how then would all students have such access when not all students have Internet service? The answer to that question came from the partnership between WLOX and Gulfport School District. WLOX, an affiliate of ABC and CBS, is a local television station. Its subchannel Bounce TV is available free over the air. WLOX agreed to broadcast two-hour, daily segments of educational videos created and produced by Gulfport School District on the Bounce TV. Stakeholders from every facet of the students’ educational journeys contributed to the video collection including teachers, administrators, community members, parents, students, and neighboring school districts even joined in by sending teacher created videos.
The Instructional Programs staff communicated with all stakeholders and organized the creation and collection of instructional videos from a tremendous number of volunteers within the school district and from neighboring school districts such as Biloxi School District and Harrison County School District. The Instructional Program’s Department and Gulfport High School’s teachers from the Television Production and Broadcast Journalism Department worked closely together to produce, edit, and publish educational videos from March throughout the summer until students returned to campus. The videos aired on BOUNCE TV and were then housed on the WLOX website for additional viewing. Some of the videos are still available at
and on Gulfport School District's Youtube Channel
The activities, resources, and lessons in the video collection were all aligned to the same standards the students would have been working on if they were able to attend school in the traditional classroom setting. The partnership between Gulfport School District and WLOX gave access to all students across the coastal area and in various other parts of the state such as Meridian and Hattiesburg, regardless of the digital disparities. Rick Williams, WLOX general manager, stated, “WLOX feels an obligation to leverage its resources to help school districts and parents in the extra-ordinary times.”
Gulfport School District, WLOX-TV Station