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Katy Families Set Up ‘Learning Pods’ for Virtual School


August 5, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

Today, August 5, marks the last day for parents to commit their students to Katy ISD’s Katy Virtual Academy. With online classes just a few weeks away, many parents are planning and setting up “learning pods” to help their children manage virtual learning.

Katy mom, Natasha Goode sets up at-home "learning pod" ahead of the school year.

Katy Families Set Up Learning Centers at Home

Katy ISD starts their 2020-21 academic year August 19. All students will participate in virtual learning until in-person instruction resumes September 8. As a result, many Katy parents are preparing at home “learning pods” to guide their students through online learning with the District’s “Katy Virtual Academy” (KVA). Today marks the deadline to commit to KVA for the first grading period.

“We are transitioning our dining room into our kindergarten room,” says Chancie Davis. Finely Davis will be starting kindergarten through KVA. The Katy family covered their dining room chairs in plastic and put them in the attic. “We moved the table against the wall for a computer desk, put down a rug for floor and play activities, added a reading nook area with bean bag chairs.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, many local families and officials are concerned with students returning to the classroom despite students desperately needing a sense of normalcy.

Katy mom Chancie Davis plans for her daughter Finely to continue kindergarten through KVA, even after in-person classes are scheduled to resume.

Families Work Together

Some families are working together to ensure their students get a full school experience while at home.

“I will be homeschooling two 1st graders and a kindergartner,” says Katy mom Natasha Goode. “I have a co-op set up with four involved families. Most of the kids are preschool age. All of the parents will likely chip in at different times for breakout lessons while I will lead the curriculum for the 1st graders and transition kiddos.”

Through this co-op arrangement, Goode has provided relief for several working families who do not have the flexibility to stay home and supervise the online instruction of the kids. Of the eight parents involved, five work full-time.

“We are making this work for our families and our kids until COVID resolves enough to let life go back to the normal our kiddos were used to,” says Goode.

Staying Loyal to Home Campus

Davis is working to ensure that her daughter gets that home campus feel.

“I plan to decorate it as “Colt Academy” to match the Pattison Colts for coordination if she returns to school,” says Davis.

“Upstairs, I’ll have a science center area, library area so we can do pretend library checkout, and building engineer area,” explains Davis.

Some Families Opt to Homeschool

Some local families have chosen to withdraw their children from Katy ISD and homeschool this year.

“We cleared two shelves on the living room bookcase so we can work from the kitchen table,” says Tabitha Floyd. “My husband named our school Floyd Institute of Technology or F.I.T.”

“Each kid has a Walmart desk in their room now,” says Anna Harwell. “I hope they can do their Zoom chats and work in peace. They will share a computer, so I can help one kid focus at a time.”

While today is the deadline to commit to KVA, parents still have until August 7th to opt out of KVA if they have previously enrolled their student. Students who are committed to KVA will have the chance to change to in-person at the end of each grading period.

KVA students will have their own teachers and will change teachers when/if they change during the year to in-person learning. Students who plan to attend in-person school on September 8 will start their year virtually but with their in-person teachers.

For more information about KVA, visit the Katy ISD website here.


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