Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

Pods in Action: Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Case Study: Making the most of a rich network of district partners

Cleveland came into the pandemic with a history of collaboration among civic organizations and schools. In summer 2020, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and partners—community organizations, funders, and out-of-school-time organizations—saw that students were in a crisis and came together to establish full-day remote-learning pods for their most vulnerable students.

Key Lessons
  1. By establishing strong connections and shared goals, out-of-school-time program providers and community organizations can collaborate quickly with school districts to support students and create opportunities for greater student engagement and learning during a crisis—and strengthen relationships for long-term collaboration.
  2. When learning-pod organizers have support from a mix of robust city-wide coordination and assured operational funding, charitable donations, local and state funding, and an active local philanthropic sector, they can provide learning-pod hosts with guidance and a set of standards for the level of service students will receive—such as supervision for a minimum of eight hours per day for four days a week, staff training, and observance of public-health precautions.
  3. Preliminary data suggest that students who attended Cleveland learning pods had higher attendance rates and grades than students who did not.

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