KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before the pandemic, Sara Soseman and her husband operated a fully-staffed marketing firm in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. Now with most of the firm’s employees working from home, Soseman has repurposed her office space for a suddenly thriving industry.
Virtual learning assistance programs. So-called ‘pod learning’ in a ‘pop-up classroom’ or imagination lab.
“Challenge Island is specifically here for parents during the situation we all lived through back in March,” Soseman said. “And this year’s school schedules look to be much more comprehensive.”
Essentially, any metro-area student who plans to attend virtual school this year can complete the classwork in a small, pod-like group. This can be either at one of two ‘imagination labs’ or at a private home with a handful of other families.
“We are supervising all of the virtual learning, so our teachers come in and set everyone’s schedule, they know exactly when every single student needs to be on their calls,” Soseman said. “They know when the call is and when they have work that they have to complete.”
It’s part of a growing industry designed to help working parents make sure younger children are completing online assignments during this unprecedented time.
“There’s a lot of teachers that don’t want to be in the classroom this year but don’t mind being in small groups.”
Challenge Island still has room for more students to enroll. The service costs roughly $50 per day, per student. All of the company’s instructors are certified teachers.