Boys and Girls Club, Muse Knoxville offer “learning pods”

Non-profits around Knox County offering learning pods-places for KCS students to learn virtually in small class sizes without stepping foot inside a school.
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:34 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Non-profits around Knox County are offering learning pods-places for KCS students to learn virtually in small class sizes without stepping foot inside a school.

“My phone has been ringing non-stop,” said Markus Jackson.

Jackson is the Chief Operating Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley. He told me he has gotten tons of phone calls, text messages and emails asking about the new virtual learning club.

”Our goal here at Boys and Girls Club is to simply be able to provide space in a learning environment where kids can continue their education through Knox County Schools,” said Jackson.

Staff will create learning pods for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Jackson explained, “Our job is to really minimize as many distractions for them as possible.”

The concept will be for students who chose virtual learning through Knox County Schools. Classrooms will be set up by grade level, with no more than nine students and a staff member per class.

“We’re well-equipped to be able to handle quite a few kids in this new era,” said Jackson. Classrooms have WiFi, masks will be required and students will be spread out.

The goal is to have 72 students between the two sites, the Halls/Powell location and the Haslam Family Club University.

Another location, Muse Knoxville, is a non-profit children’s museum in Chilhowee Park, and it will also open its doors for kindergarten through second grade students.

“The idea is to create a smaller group of learners where social distancing and additional safety and health protocols can be in place for that small group while also sticking with the public school curriculum,” said Ellie Kittrell, the executive director of Muse.

Kittrell told WVLT News the learning pods program at Muse will ensure students who are not in the same class do not co-mingle.

“Once Knox County Schools released their plans we realized that there might be this need for some working parents to have in place for their virtual learners,” said Kittrell.

No matter if parents work outside the home, from home or not at all, the options for learning pods will be there.

“Most important thing for parents to know is that with this whole virtual learning that the parent plays a major role in this as well because it’s brand new,” explained Jackson, “And so it’s still highly important for those parents to make connections back to the school to the school teacher.”

Muse’s application is now open. The Boys and Girls Club will open its registration on Monday, August 3rd.

The programs do cost money, but there are scholarships available.

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