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Pandemic Pods and Teaching to the Whole Child: The Role of Parents and Community

The Family Call to Action, produced by the Parent Advisory Panel of the Aspen Institute’s SEAD Commission, succinctly captures the desire of parents around the country for schools to “know and teach the whole student”—a concept that includes supporting multiple domains of development (social, emotional, identity, mental health, and academic) as well as creating a safe and supportive school climate.

This paper draws from CRPE’s study of pandemic pods conducted in 2020 and 2021 to understand what lessons we can draw from the focused implementation of the whole-child approach in pandemic learning communities and to what degree these lessons are applicable to traditional schooling. This includes case studies on the following initiatives, which operated pod-like learning environments during the pandemic:

  • Black Mothers Forum’s (BMF) microschool
  • My Reflection Matters virtual colearning community
  • Boston CLC’s learning pods
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s learning pods
  • Neighborhood North learning pods
  • Joanna Rosa-Saenz’s learning pod

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