TAMPA, Fla. — Some Tampa Bay area families are opting to stick with virtual learning but are getting some extra help with learning pods, run by certified former teachers.
Just weeks before the beginning of the school year, Shannon Lee, now a former Hillsborough County School teacher said she couldn't risk her family's health by going back into a huge public school.
"I just realized I wasn't going to feel safe and secure with over 2,000 people on a campus," Lee said back in August 2020.
Now, she owns and operates Lee's Learning Loft, where she supervises virtual learning for fewer than 10 children.
"I'm loving the results that the students are getting," Lee said.
She says learning pods, run by a certified teacher, are a good option for families who aren't comfortable with brick and mortar, may struggle with technology, or just want a smaller school group setting.
"They still want their students to have some type of social interaction," Lee said.
However, Lee said there is a clear difference between learning lofts like hers and some other learning pods you'll find.
"Some of the learning pods you have is where it's been families, neighborhoods that say, hey, let's bring our kids together, they can be in this social setting, and they can complete their assignments," Lee said. "But here, you have a certified teacher that understands the standards, understand the trajectory of the standards as students move through K-12."
Lee also believes that even after the pandemic is over, learning pods like hers could continue to be the best option for some kids because they can offer such individualized attention.
"I'm able to give them that one on one support because my environment is just more conducive to it," Lee said.
Lee believes more parents may soon choose smaller class sizes in businesses like hers, or micro-schools that are now growing in popularity around the country.
"The reality of it is in some schools and some classrooms, the teachers are just not able to give their students their child that individualized attention that they need," Lee said.