First 4 NH school districts receive ‘learning pod’ grants

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Prenda is a learning model in which 5-10 students meet together in an informal setting (often a classroom, library, or other suitable location) to learn at their own pace, build projects, and engage with each other in collaborative activities. Image/Prenda

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Education announced today the first four School District Recovering Bright Futures Learning Pods grants. In partnership with Prenda, the Department created the Recovering Bright Futures program to bring an innovative instructional model to New Hampshire students, families and schools. District Pods are embedded in New Hampshire school districts and provide students a unique learning environment. The grants are provided through COVID-19 response funds received by the State. The districts include: Bow, Dunbarton, Fremont, and Haverhill school district.

“Learning Pods may be new to many, but throughout the pandemic and across the country, they have served over a million students in small-group, multi-age and trauma-sensitive learning environments,” stated Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education. “Learning Pods are particularly helpful to students who have experienced learning loss and will thrive with more individualized attention.”

All New Hampshire school districts, including traditional and public charter schools, are eligible to participate in the District Learning Pod program. In addition, home education families are eligible to participate in Community Learning Pods. More districts are expected to sign on as the summer progresses.

What is a Learning Pod?

Learning Pods involve small, in-person, multi-age groupings of students in a trauma-sensitive environment that allow children to stabilize, rekindle curiosity, and accelerate learning. Generally, a learning pod has between 5 – 10 students in grades K-2, 3-5 or 6-8 groupings. Instruction of students in the District Learning Pod will reflect a partnership between the local education agency (LEA) and Prenda, which includes the following:

  • Instruction will be conducted 100 percent by Prenda.
  • Special Education services will be provided both by Prenda, where appropriate, and the LEA. Prenda has the capacity to meet many IEP accommodations, and certain specialized services will continue to be provided by the LEA. The LEA will continue to be responsible for IEP support services.
  • Instruction will occur in an approved facility agreed upon by the LEA and Prenda Schools.
  • The LEA and Prenda will agree on data reporting, including attendance, student progress, etc.
  • The LEA will agree to receive students back from the Learning Pod if the LEA, family or Prenda determine that the student would benefit from a return to the classroom learning environment.

Families and districts can find more information about the Recovering Bright Futures from the Department’s website or by contacting Gabby Fisk.