Amar Kumar says he believes learning pods will outlast the pandemic. In 2021, he launched KaiPod Learning, which operates in Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and has enrolled 124 students in grades three through 12. His company charges tuition and provides logistical support for families who don’t want to run a pod, or small learning group, themselves. Mr. Kumar envisions more partnerships with public school districts. In New Hampshire, the state education department pays the tuition for students enrolled in KaiPod learning centers.
“I think the real long-term potential might be for traditional schools to see pods as pathways in their systems,” says Mr. Kumar.
Declining enrollment in public school districts may compel them to experiment more, says Michael B. Horn, author of “From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child.” “That will put more pressure on traditional districts to say we’ve got to innovate. Otherwise we’re losing students, losing dollars, and the staff that comes with it,” Mr. Horn says.