On November 14, 2022, founders of Black-led pods and microschools and scholars who study Black self-determination in education gathered for CRPE’s virtual event, “What can public education learn from Black-led pods and microschools?” The lively conversation between panelists Robert Harvey, Maxine McKinney de Royston, Janelle Wood, and Lakisha Young and moderator Chris “Citizen” Stewart explored why Black families form education solutions outside the public system, especially during the pandemic. A transcript of the video is available here

About the Project:

In partnership with our funders, the Center on Reinventing Public Education launched a national initiative that brought together researchers from around the country to track and analyze the pandemic pod movement. Our goal was simple: to learn from the families, educators, and community-based organizations who stepped in during the crisis to solve urgent challenges and, along the way, invented educational solutions that could outlast the pandemic.

Based on a survey, interviews with parents, educators and leaders of pandemic pod initiatives, and more than a dozen case studies, we share findings about educator, family, and student experiences with these small, pandemic learning communities and what they may mean for the future of education. Use this page to explore all of the products of our research.

“Pandemic pods suggest important new paths to achieve a more joyful, customized, and relationship-based learning environment for both students and teachers.”


Case Studies

Case studies of community-based pandemic learning communities.

Pods in Action:

African Leadership Group

Pods in Action:

Community Works

Pods in Action:

Hyde Park Neighborhood Club

Pods in Action:

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Pods in Action:

Neighborhood North

Pods in Action:

Working Papers

Working papers on lessons learned from the pandemic pod movement.

Lessons for Improving Curriculum from the COVID–19 Pandemic

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The Demand Side of Alternative Education Products

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Pandemic Pods and Teaching to the Whole Child

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Equitable Pandemic Learning Pods? A Glimpse of an Emerging Ecosystem

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Katherine Bateman
Haring Center for Inclusive Education

Eupha Jeanne Daramola
University of Southern California

Laura Davis
UChicago Consortium

Britany Gatewood
Albany State University

Thomas Gold
Bellwether Education

Steven Hodas

Melissa Steel King
Bellwether Education Partners

Michael McShane

Paul DiPerna

Joy Jones
Albany State University

Temple Lovelace
Assessment for Good

Kathaleena Monds
Albany State University

Nichole Pinkard
Northwestern University

Morgan Polikoff
USC Rossier School of Education

Femi Vance
American Institutes for Research

Sarah Woulfin
University of Connecticut

Jenee Henry Wood

Public Impact

Sharon Kebschull Barrett

Lyria Boast

Paola Gilliam

Bryan C. Hassel

Juli Kim

RAND Corporation

Heather Gomez-Bendaña

Christopher Doss

Rebecca Lawrence

Elizabeth Steiner

Heather Schwartz


Heather Casimere

Lisa Chu

Michael DeArmond

Lanya McKittrick

Nadja Michel-Herf

Alice Opalka

Cara Pangelinan

Travis Pillow

Jennifer Poon

Roohi Sharma

Barbara Talkington

Chelsea Waite

Steven Weiner

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