KaiPod Learning is coming to New Hampshire as of the 2022-23 school year. They offer in-person supervision for students who are taking online classes either privately or through the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS).
The program is offered through the NH Department of Education’s Connecting Bright Futures Program. It uses $400K of ARP ESSER federal funds in a sole-source contract to run through September 2024 for up to 40 students, up to 4 pods. It is a pilot program.
- for students in grades 3 to 12
- enrollment options of 2, 3, or 5 days a week
- currently operating in Newton MA and Roswell GA, expanding to more states
- $100 registration fee, which may be waived by the NH DOE contract
After reviewing KaiPod’s brochure and website, I had the opportunity to ask one of their representatives a series of questions, shared below.
- If there are more than 40 applications, how will enrollment be determined?
We will match students based on geography, age, the number of days they expect to use the program, and when they applied. After 40 we will start a waitlist.
- Who are eligible students? Is it only homeschoolers who follow RSA 193-A, or are VLACS full-time and/or EFA students also eligible? What about those students who are participating in VLACS as the remote option for their local public schools?
All students in NH are eligible. The program is best for students in full-time online or homeschoolers. If a student is doing VLACS as a full-time remote option through the local school district, this would also be a good fit.
- Because this is funded through a federal program, are there required tests? Are there academic accountability requirements?
There are no new accountability requirements relative to what you may already have via VLACS or your local school district.
- It's my understanding that this is a pilot program. How will the success be measured or determined?
The primary success criteria are based on student and family feedback. In addition, for students taking NH state assessments, we expect to compare performance relative to students that are not in pods. Note, participation in KaiPod does NOT mandate any new assessments.
- What student information is reported back to the state?
Attendance. If more is required, we will inform families ahead of time.
- Is KaiPod Learning a for-profit organization?
- What are the fees for the various enrollment options if a family were to pay out-of-pocket?
2 day $60, 3 day $85, 5 day $139 Per week. This gives families access on their chosen days anytime between 8-330.
- What are the requirements for "KaiPod coaches?"
All Coaches need classroom experience. They also go through a background check that covers national, state, and county criminal checks.
- Will the learning groups have mixed ages/grades?
Yes, we strive to keep groups limited to a 3-4 year age span.
- For clarification, homeschoolers do not have any reporting requirements to the state or their local SAUs once they have provided notification per RSA 193-A. They must do some kind of annual assessment, typically a standardized test or teacher evaluation, but the results are kept private. They are not required to participate in the statewide testing. Would participating students be required to take the state assessment?
No, since we are not the school or curriculum provider, KaiPod Learning does not require any form of testing.
- Also, the EFA program is not the same as home education, even though the funds may be used for at-home learning. The EFA is a separate educational pathway per RSA 193:1 and are governed by RSA 194-F. Will KaiPod Learning make a distinction between the various enrollment choices of participating students, keep track of whether the students are VLACS or remote learning through their district or EFA or homeschoolers? Each is a separate educational option in NH and has different legal requirements.
KaiPod Learning keeps track of each student's curriculum provider (online school, home education, etc.) so our KaiPod Coaches can best support each student individually. You can think of KaiPod as an in-person supplement to whatever curriculum provider the family has chosen. While our learning pods offer M-F 8-3:30pm availability, we are not categorized as a school -- rather we are categorized similarly to supplemental tutoring (i.e., a child attending Mathnasium for extra support). As such, our program does not require any sort of testing or affect any legal definition of education status for students.
Update 5/30/2022 -- Changed the statements regarding their locations and registration fee as it may be waived by the NH DOE contract agreement and added their new reservation form that is specific to NH.
By Michelle Levell