Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

Pods in Action: Community Works

Case Study: A community organization makes the jump from supporting students after school to supporting families who homeschool

Before the pandemic, Community Works in New Orleans, Louisiana ran large- group (100- to 200-student) after-school and out-of-school-time programs that integrated enrichment and academics for youth in grades K–8. When school buildings closed in March 2020, Community Works started offering more versatile programming options to meet the needs of their students, inclusive of various virtual programs and some in-person after- school and daytime programs. They then shifted their focus from their virtual programming options to facilitate operation of two learning pods, one funded and located within the local K–8 public school for the children of teachers and one composed of mostly homeschooled students that was housed in their office building and funded by the Vela Education Fund.

Key Lessons
  1. An organization with experience running out-of-school-time programs proved well positioned to support students during the pandemic by providing enrichment that supplemented the remote instruction they received from schools and by prioritizing students’ social and emotional well-being.
  2. Supporting full-blown school replacement for families new to homeschooling created new challenges for an organization used to supporting supplemental activities, especially because some families did not know they were expected to provide curricula.

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