Learning pods, microschools, pandemic pods!
Lots of new terms, lots of new ideas, and plenty of questions to go along with them.
This FAQ page can help.
Please note these answers are specific to how Scoot at Home is helping families form learning pods.
There are lots of valid and awesome perspectives but these are ours. We'll update this page as we learn more from navigating this brave new world with our families and educators!
Frequently asked questions
Introduction to Learning Pods
What's a learning pod? How is it different to a pandemic pod or microschool?
Here are some helpful definitions:
Home Learning Pod
The focus is on creating a physical setting to complement virtual instruction from schools, including supervision, technical support, and socialization for grade-school aged children and youth while parents attend virtual meetings and complete work.
Children could be all in the same class or school, or a mix.
Particularly for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, with a setup similar to pre-pandemic nanny shares, operating out of one or more family homes.
Caregiver could be a nanny, a preschool teacher, or a stay-at-home parent caring for their own child plus one or more others.
A more formal and often somewhat larger group, with curriculum being delivered by an in-person teacher(s). For younger children, these may look similar to pre-pandemic preschools or daycares located in a home or meeting outdoors in nature.
These programs may require a license, depending on what state you live in, the children’s ages, and the number of children.
Pod families get together at each other’s homes or in parks for playdates, which are typically limited to a few hours each day or week.
A pod could include aspects of multiple pod types, for example, by having time for remote learning during the day, with playdate time together with parents later in the afternoon; or by having elements of a Microschool with a part-time teacher providing enrichment activities or specialized tutoring.
Does a learning pod replace or supplement my child's regular schooling?
The intention of a Scoot at Home learning pod is to complement the instruction and academics offered by the school. Home learning pods work together with virtual participation in a regular grade school. We call this academic enrichment and is designed to bring the academics to life for maximum engagement from the student(s).
How do pods get organized, is there a leader?
Normally Scoot at Home learning pods are organized by participating families who already know and trust one another. This is helpful as the participating families need to form an isolation bubble to keep the pod safe.
How many students can be in a pod?
A K-6 pod can have up to six students and grade 7 to 12 pods can have a maximum of eight students.
How many families can be in a pod?
For safety, a maximum of three families is recommended for each pod.
Do learning pods have to be five days a week?
Nope! Provided the pod schedule matches the educator's schedule, you can have as many or as few days per week as you choose. Pods can even be held on Saturdays or Sundays.
How long do learning pods have to last for each day?
The default Scoot at Home learning pod day is five hours with the educator(s).
Who creates the curriculum for a learning pod?
Learning pod curriculum is based on the regular school grade curriculum. This helps students be prepared to recommence in-person academics on pace when schools reopen.
What kind of setting is recommended for pods to create an environment conducive to learning?
In terms of design, minimal clutter and functionality is important but also taking advantage of the innovation a home can provide. Flexible-seating classrooms like these can give inspiration!
Things to think about including in your home classroom:
Supplies (pen, paper, markers, etc)
Arts & Crafts
Folders (for communicating with parents)
Extra masks (in case someone forget or loses one)
Pricing & Enrollment
How much do Scoot at Home educators cost for my learning pod?
Scoot charges based on:
Do I have to make a minimum commitment to schedule a Scoot at Home educator?
A minimum of five pod days must be purchased to start. There is no minimum commitment beyond that but there is a 10% discount for committing to 60 pod days!
How and when do I pay for a Scoot at Home educator?
When your pod schedule is first confirmed, you'll be charged for the first week. After that, Scoot at Home charges your credit card at the start of each week that has pods scheduled during the next 7 days.
Can the cost of an educator be shared across multiple families in my pod?
Yes! Provided the split doesn't change week to week, we can split each charge across upto three credit cards.
What's your cancellation and refund policy?
Families must give Scoot at Home 24 hours advance notice to cancel or reschedule a shift. Shifts cancelled less than 24 hours beforehand will be billed at 50% of the normal rate. Shifts cancelled with less than one hours’ notice will be charged at 100% of the normal rate.
Do you offer customized/tailored pricing?
We want to make sure as many families as want to can engage in a learning pod so in unique circumstances we can tailor our offerings to suit your family.
Who is Scoot at Home?
Who is Scoot at Home and Scoot Education?
Scoot at Home is an offering from Scoot Education. Scoot Education is an education staffing company with offices in California, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand. Globally Scoot and its affiliates fill more than 450,000 teacher vacancies annually.
How do I contact Scoot at Home?
During the summer our office hours are:
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 4pm
Fridays: 9am to 12.30pm
How does the Scoot at Home process work?
Great question - our process for matching a Scoot at Home educator with a learning pod is highly tailored to each family. No two pods are the same and that's why we assign an education consultant to each pod before and after confirming an educator.
Where does Scoot at Home offer educators for learning pods?
We employ educators in the following areas of California:
San Francisco Bay Area
Who does Scoot Education normally work with?
Scoot Education works with hundreds of private, charter, and public schools up and down California. We help them fill temporary classroom vacancies with substitute teachers as well as help school recruit full-time educators and administrators to join their faculty permanently.
Are Scoot at Home teachers employees of Scoot?
Yes! Scoot at Home teachers are W2 employees of Scoot so we take care of the payroll, benefits, state/federal filings, and insurance.
Is Scoot at Home insured?
Yes; we carry all the various types of insurance to keep your pod families safe from risk exposure and our teachers are employees of ours so are covered by Scoot's insurance as well.
Are there written guidelines on the commitments that pod families and the educator need to make to make everyone as safe as possible?
How do I know the educator is safe and trustworhy?
Scoot at Home goes through a thorough vetting process before hiring an educator. Hundreds of schools and families rely on us to provide teachers and we must meet the highest standards of vetting.
Sexual harassment, mandated reporter, and health and safety training
The most thorough possible criminal background checks that include current and expunged results from California Department of Justice and the FBI.
Scoot's criminal background checks include ongoing arrest notifications so we can be aware of incidents as they occur
What precauations does Scoot at Home enforce to avoid the transmission of Covid?
To reduce the risk of virus transmission between educator and family members, all parties are required to take multiple precautions. To learn more about our safety polices, please review our Safety First page.
Do families and educators follow the same precautions?
Yes. The requirements agreed to in the shared isolation bubble agreement will apply to families and the educator.
Pod Teachers & Students
Are Scoot at Home educators credentialed?
Are Scoot at Home eduators just tutors disguised as teachers?
Scoot at Home only employs teachers. We do not offer tutoring services. Therefore all of our educators have classroom teaching experience that goes beyond just academics and are instead able to bring lesson plans to life, understand behaviour management techniques for engagement, and teach across a range of grade levels/subjects.
How many grade levels can a pod span?
While there is some flexibiltiy in unique circumstances, Scoot at Home recommends that pods include students from kindergarten to grade 6 in one pod and grade 7 to grade 12 students in an other pod. This is a similar split to traditional elementary and high schools.
How do K-6 pods differ from grade 7-12 pods?
Just like in elementary schools and high schools, students in different grade levels have different academic and social needs. Scoot at Home recommends these two grade spans to maintain social and academic growth.
Can I have more than one pod in my home?
Yes, provided the pods are in different parts of the home and the other safety rules are complied with.
Do Scoot at Home educators really need an hour of prep time?
Being a Scoot at Home learning pod educator can be challenging work as it can involve teaching multiple grade levels, very different student ability levels, and subjects all at the same time. For best results, we recommend an hour of prep time each day so the educator is compensated appropriately for doing their 'home-work', just as a classroom school teacher receives prep periods during the week.
What happens if I don't like the pod educator I chose?
Contact your Scoot consultant and they'll try to solve any issues that have come up but will find new educator(s) for consideration when that's neccessary.
Can my students take AP classes?
Yes, they can. However, this may require more than one educator. We'd suggest an educator take on more of a tutoring role in a priority subject and then help out elsewhere as possible.
Can Scoot at Home employ a pod teacher who I've found?
Yes! If you've found the perfect teacher but are worried about the financial and legal risks of employing them (or paying them in cash) then Scoot at Home can hire your teacher and take care of this burden for you.
Best possibel criminal background checks on the educator
Acess to Scoot at Home's tempates and services
Be covered under Scoot at Home's insurances
Scoot at Home handles all the federal and state filings for you
Teacher has access to workers' compensation and state benefits