Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

Pods in Action: Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy

Case Study: A microschool offered personalized learning for students, support for educators—and a glimpse into gaps in policy

In response to concerns about the children of first responders needing a safe, supervised place to learn in the midst of COVID-19 school closures, the City of North Las Vegas funded education nonprofit Nevada Action to set up a microschool. Students left the school district to learn at the microschool, which received from the city facilities, funding for personnel, support from city employees, and marketing support.

Key Lessons
  1. This microschool shows how a public-private partnership can create an innovative education option for students and families during a crisis and beyond.
  2. Learning models with a mix of whole-group instruction and self- directed programs with guided curriculum, such as Prenda and Cadence Learning, can create opportunities for personalized learning for students while supporting nontraditional educators.
  3. A municipal government was able to tap public funds to provide a new learning option for students legally designated as homeschoolers. The arrangement will continue for at least another year, under the aegis of a charter school and backed by federal COVID relief funding. But the long-term financial and regulatory sustainability of this arrangement—and those of similar microschools that sprang up elsewhere in the country—remains an unaddressed policy challenge.

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