POD PARENT FAQS
What’s a learning pod?
A learning pod is a group of four to eight school-age kids who gather daily for virtual schooling, in addition to supplemental activities. Learning pods are 2020’s solution to this global pandemic and the closure of our schools.
So are your poderators homeschooling?
No – this is not homeschool! All pod students must be enrolled in a public, private, or public charter school to be a part of Houston Learning Pods. Poderators will ensure your children participate at the appropriate time for online classes, help them with homework and assignments, and make sure their distance work gets completed. They will also plan additional activities as needed to fill the day, but Poderators will not be creating or implementing homeschool curriculum.
What kinds of supplemental activities will poderators provide?
This will vary by pod and age group! We will support poderators in designing activities that are fun and engaging, but pod parents will be asked to set parameters around allowable activities. These could include crafts, a musical jam session, games, outside “recess”, yoga, baking, educational activities, and more!
What qualifications will poderators have?
Our poderators will be screened by our team so we can ensure they are caring, responsible adults with the skills needed to facilitate a learning pod. All poderators must be 20 or older. Pods can preference poderators with certified teaching experience at an additional cost of $250 per week (~$31/child at capacity). We expect some of our poderators will have teaching or childcare experience, while others may have a background as a stay-at-home parent and still others may be professionals from a specific industry.
What is the screening process for poderators?
The Houston Learning Pods team will conduct an initial application screening and virtual interview. Pod parents will conduct a final placement interview and make the final hiring decision. Additionally, we will conduct reference checks and a background check before hiring your poderator.
What training will poderators receive?
Poderators will receive virtual training covering the following topics – First Aid; Creating a Strong Learning Pod Culture; Planning Supplemental Activities; Pod Organization & Time Management; and Communication with Schools & Parents. Additionally, poderators will be able to attend regular virtual office hours with our team to receive additional support and coaching as needed.
What if our pod has already found someone to lead the pod. Can we hire them through Houston Learning Pods?
Yes! If you have already found a poderator on your own, joining Houston Learning Pods provides many advantages. We handle all the HR paperwork, taxes, and insurance. Plus, your poderator will receive training and access to resources to help them. Poderators paid through us must receive the same minimum salary as our poderators, but if you’ve negotiated a higher rate, we can work with you to adjust your pricing as needed.
Will a pod parent need to be home?
No! While you are certainly welcome to work from home, the poderator will handle care for the day. For parents who choose to work from home, we recommend you ensure you have a separate office space and let your children know you’re unavailable.
What is the length of commitment? And what does the renewal process look like?
Pods must commit to a minimum of six weeks initially. Beyond the initial commitment, pods can determine the total length of time they’d like a poderator. Pods are required to provide four weeks notice of any additional weeks to guarantee their spot.
What will be the safety protocols for our pod?
This will depend on each pod! As a group, you’ll be asked to develop your health and safety protocols together and sign a Pod Social Contract where you agree to follow these rules. Some pods may decide that all students and the poderator will wear masks all day, while others may feel comfortable going sans mask. Some pods may agree they will practice social distancing and take every precaution possible in their own social lives to prevent exposure to the whole pod. We highly encourage you to create your pod with other families who are practicing similar safety protocols to you.
What if the pod needs to quarantine due to Covid-19?
If the poderator tests positive for Covid-19, pods will have three options. We can work to provide a substitute poderator (who will be required to wear a mask), parents can step in with support from our team, or the pod can temporarily close. Should a child or family test positive or have an assumption of exposure, it will be up to the pod parents on whether or not the pod will temporarily close.
Can our pod go on field trips?
Unfortunately, the only field trips allowed will be virtual. In order to protect our staff and your children, we want to limit exposure to others outside the pod as much as possible.
Is Houston Learning Pods insured?
Yes! We carry general liability insurance, in addition to workers’ compensation.
My child is in pre-K, but they are ready for this! Can they join?
Bless you parents of littles. At this time, we are not supporting pre-K pods in our Full Pod Package as the distance learning can look so different for this age group; however, we can provide pre-K Poderators through our Recruitment and Screening Services package.
I have a high schooler; please help!
While we don’t support high school in our Full Pod Package, we do offer the option to hire a high school teacher through our Recruitment and Screening Services package.