LOS ANGELES — When schools shut down, some parents formed PODS where students could navigate virtual learning together. Now that the Los Angeles Unified School District has switched over to hybrid learning, the PODS have changed.
In Studio City, Cynthia Ceballos leads a POD of four first graders. Before the pandemic, Ceballos was a substitute teacher with LAUSD, but when the pandemic started, she decided to focus on her own business, a tutoring center in Woodland Hills called Leaders in Training Tutoring.
When she started the POD, her students were learning from home virtually. Ceballos said "now, instead of worrying about that, we're able to have a little more fun, learn some Spanish, do some art and get a little more active."
For example, one activity includes the children learning Spanish through a scavenger hunt, finding questions and answering them in Spanish. While some of the lessons are new, others align with their schoolwork, so they are better prepared for class.
"For example, sometimes they're spelling words. We'll make sure that we practice our spelling words throughout the week for their spelling test is Friday," Ceballos said.
The time these children spend in their POD is shorter, going from six hours a day while virtual learning to three hours a day. The students meet in the morning and attend Carpenter Community Charter School in the afternoon. All four are on the same schedule. Ceballos said that even though LAUSD has converted over to a hybrid learning model that the time they spend here before they go to class prepares them mentally for in-class instruction.
"They know that they have someone to rely on. They have a teacher here physically to rely on and they also have classmates here physically to rely on."
As they head to class together, these students know they have someone they can talk to as they navigate this pandemic.