Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

Pods in Action: Joanna Rosa-Saenz

Case Study: How a bootstrapping parent-run pod served at-risk students

When the pandemic closed schools in Denver, an enterprising parent with community connections stepped in to meet immediate needs—and paved a new path to supporting students and families in the future.

Key Lessons
  • Families across the socioeconomic spectrum self-organized to support their children and one another during the pandemic. This community power presents a strong opportunity for school districts to work in partnership with families and serve students in new ways and outside school buildings beyond the pandemic.
  • Preexisting community ties strengthened families’ ability to self-organize and support learning in pods during the pandemic.
  • Access to financial and educational resources were critical to elevating the instructional rigor of family-run pods.
  • Disconnection from district resources made it more difficult for self-organized pods to fully serve all students—including those who required special education services.

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