The pandemic of 2020 has created a very new landscape of possibilities and protocols for families who are thinking about the best ways to educate their children. Prior to this, families would meet with me and we’d discuss their children, their family, and their options, which were public, private, independent, charter, parochial. and religiously-affiliated. Now, for this fall, we are talking about those, but also homeschools, micro-schools, pods, and private tutoring, online and in-person options. We have so much more to consider!

It is exciting and worth a blog post on what parents can think about when educating their children in the Fall of 2020.

The Previous Landscape is Still Available

Public Schools are available to all students and placement depends on zones and/or one’s application in NYC or home location in the suburbs. This fall, these schools will most likely either be a hybrid approach or 100% remote. Most likely NYC schools will be 100% remote. Suburban schools may be able to conduct a hybrid approach (hybrid means being in school 2-3 days and being home on the other days). The remote program in the public system this spring was mostly asynchronous – meaning teachers would send videos and assignments which the students would work on at their own pace. It is unclear what the remote program will be like for students in Fall 2020. The public programs follow the Common Core and Next Generation Learning Standards. The NYC program also has interesting programs such as G & T, Dual Language, Services for Special Education and ELL students, performing arts schools, and more!

Private/Independent Schools are privately run schools and are either for-profit or not-for-profit institutions. Most of these schools will offer in-person, 5 days a week school, some will work with a hybrid approach this fall. The schools have resources to offer COVID-19 protection for teachers and students. There may be some remote options in these schools as well. The remote lessons from many of these schools are live lessons and interactions for the full school day. Many schools are innovating opportunities for students and their communities to engage and develop their learners. The curriculum in these schools is created by the school and teachers – each school has a unique approach. It is important for prospective families to engage in the admissions process thoughtfully as these schools are competitive to gain admission to.

Parochial and Religiously-Affiliated Schools include religious education along with general education. Their curriculum varies and can be traditional or progressive (progressive means that the educational approach is influenced by modern thought and theory). These schools will have a mix of in-person and remote learning this fall – depending on their capabilities to host students safely in school.

Private Special Education Schools provide a specific approach that students with special needs require to learn well. There are specific schools for students with autism, language-based learning disabilities, and ADHD. There are also schools for students who are 2e. Most of these schools are offering in-person or live remote lessons that meet the student’s needs.

Charter Schools have a unique program that they create using public funding. Students gain admission through an application and lottery process which occurs once a year. Students who are already admitted to charter schools may attend in person this fall, but we have learned that the schools are not starting until mid-September at earliest.

Traditional Home Schools will continue to educate students at home. There are ways parents can home school students on their own. They can also partner with an accredited online program to support their child’s learning. There are many options in this landscape at this point and we talk with families about these options in our consulting work.

New Additions to The Landscape

Remote Learning or Distance Learning Programs are typically a part of a school program and are intended to provide educational experiences via a computer for a student. They can be provided synchronously – or using live instruction or asynchronously – by providing videos, projects, and online assignments for students to complete on their own time and at their own pace. When we consult with families about their Fall 2020 plan, we talk about remote learning and how to make the program work best for their child’s learning profile.

Micro-schools are created by a family or a group of families to educate children. Families source remote or in-person teaching in order to meet the needs of their students. These programs are new to the landscape. When we consult, we match a family with a best-fit micro-school program and customize it even further to meet the needs of the family or group.

A Pod is a group of people who keep track of their social exposure to COVID-19 and limit their exposure to COVID-19 apart from those in their pod. In our consultation work, we talk about how to create a pod and ways to construct guidelines and protocols for the pod to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 as much as possible.

Remote Pods are groups of students who meet up on Zoom or other videoconferencing platforms to engage together in learning work. These are safer ways to share resources, build communities, and engage in collaborative learning. As we provide the safety protocols for in-person Pods, many families have decided to change course to create remote pods to avoid having members of the in-person pods wear face masks, use sneeze guards, purchase air filters, and pay hazard pay and transportation fees to in-person teachers. During our consultations, we provide our clients with a guide for how to construct these remote pods.

Hiring a Private Teacher – Many families are grouping together and working to hire a private teacher – to support distance learning, to work within a micro-school program, and/or to work and live within a pod. When families wish to endeavor to do this, we support them by offering ways to set up their programs for success for their unique family or group. We specialize in understanding how to create the framework of such a program in a way that supports the students and teachers. We do not supply connections with teachers, but we do recommend organizations that do. Our approach is to always meet the needs of our clients in any recommendation we make.

Private Tutoring – 1-1 tutoring provides targeted instruction around a specific area of learning. Tutors have a wide spectrum of experience and approaches to their work. At Evolved, we offer private tutoring which is holistic and education-based. When we consult with our families about the Fall 2020 schooling, we offer them our 1-1 tutoring when students would benefit from being closely monitored and supported in a highly specialized manner. Due to the nature of tutoring and the high exposure of part-time tutors to various families, we highly recommend meeting with tutors remotely unless there are certain circumstances that cause in-person to be possible and with minimal risk to all parties.

If you would like to schedule an hourly consultation to talk through your plans for the Fall 2020 schooling, please fill out our application form and schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone call to learn more about how we can support you!