Major & Latasha's Prisma Story

At Prisma, we believe the families and learners who like to call themselves Prismarians—are our ‘secret sauce’! Here we highlight one of our favorite stories from the Prisma community

Latasha, Major's mom
February 6, 2023

Prisma is the world’s most engaging virtual school that combines a fun, real-world curriculum with powerful mentorship from experienced coaches and a supportive peer community

"Enrolling Major in Prisma is the best educational decision we could have made for him."

What type of education was Major in before Prisma?

Major was attending his zoned public middle school prior to joining Prisma. His school served students in grades 6-8, and at the time of his attendance there were over 1,000 students.

What was that learning experience like for Major, and why did you choose to leave it?

Major really changed when he attended his previous school. He was never a kid that got into fights or really any trouble at all. Major was suspended twice during his 6th grade school year, and the last suspension lasted for 3 days. He was being labeled as disruptive even though his dad and I were in frequent communication and attempted to partner with his teachers to accommodate his needs based on his ADHD. They were very reluctant to provide him with accommodations because his grades were good. He just struggled to adapt to the class environment since he was able to grasp concepts rather quickly and would have to wait for his peers to complete their work. So tapping pencils, fidgeting, random noises occurred frequently, and he got in trouble often for it. No matter what tools we provided Major with to help him, nothing worked for him.

Major also felt unsafe at the school. He was picked on by other students; there were fights every day. He said he felt like he couldn’t be himself because he was being forced to sit still all day, and he said he couldn’t really express himself. After his last fight at the end of the school year, he begged me to not force him to go back.

What's Prisma?

  • Prisma is an accredited, project-based, online program for kids in grades 4-12.
  • We exist to ignite a lifelong love of learning and prepare kids to thrive in the future.
  • Our middle school, high school, and parent-coach programs provide personalized curriculum, 1:1 support from educators, and cohorts where kids build community.

"I would start with his Coach Gwyn. The way she has supported Major and encourages him has helped him tremendously."

How did these challenges affect you and your family?

Major was so unhappy at public school, and I had never seen him that low before. He was always a happy kid, but at this public school he was alone and didn’t want to engage at all. His struggles in public school also impacted his relationship with his dad as well as it put a strain on our marriage. As a mom, I wanted to support Major, but his dad felt at times I was enabling him and that Major was manipulating situations to gain my support. It was a very difficult time for our family.

Did you try any other options before Prisma?

We didn’t try any other school options, but we did try to give Major tools to help him in class so that he wouldn’t be labeled as a distraction. He was given a journal to doodle when he finished his work, fidget spinners, and calm strips. Nothing worked for him.

"We have our beautiful boy back! Major laughs now, he is more responsible, he is more mature."

Why did you decide to join Prisma?

When I saw Prisma, I was immediately interested in the structure, the comparison between traditional school and the reviews from other parents. There were so many statements that touched on the same issues Major had: such as feeling like the curriculum in public school wouldn’t be useful in the future, that kids would find it fun and would say they love school. I thought it would be impossible. However, when I met with Victoria and she showed how high the Net Promoter Score was for Prisma, I was sold. I am a customer service professional, and I know how hard it is to achieve NPS scores over 50. The fact that Prisma has consistently maintained a NPS over 80 was the icing on the cake for me. 

But I also involved Major in the research. I asked him to review everything on the website and write down any questions I could ask on his behalf. I wanted this to be his decision more than ours because his comfort, and safety were most important. When he teared up after receiving his acceptance email and made me print it so that he could have it for himself, I knew at that moment I would do everything necessary to ensure he could attend.

What were your expectations before joining Prisma?

We just wanted a structure and environment where Major could feel like he belonged and be his authentic self; we wanted him to be able to learn at his pace with a curriculum that he felt was beneficial; and, most of all, I wanted him to love school the way the testimonials said other students did.

"There is a lot more peace and trust in our home, and I don’t worry about Major the way I used to. I actually cried when I told him how proud I was of him when he finished his last cycle and how he has grown so much."

What was your biggest unexpected surprise after joining Prisma?

Oh gosh, there are so many! I would start with his Coach Gwyn. The way she has supported Major and encourages him has helped him tremendously. He is so much more confident and happy knowing that he has a coach that will talk to him about his challenges and help him through it, not just turn his challenges into a negative and call his parents. This is actually one of the questions Major had prior to joining Prisma. He wanted his educators to be his partners helping him gain the skills he needed to be successful.

The level of organization of the curriculum is amazing. The thought and creativity put into each of the cycle videos makes me wish I had Prisma to go to for middle school! It is always so exciting and fresh.

The biggest surprise is how engaged Major has been since he started. He has never been as engaged, motivated, or on task as he is at Prisma.

How has your child grown since joining Prisma?

We have our beautiful boy back! Major laughs now, he is more responsible, he is more mature. I love that he thinks about including his sisters and others into his work. He shows the things he loves. He has learned so many new skills through the technology used for his projects that he is teaching me things! (I used to be the most tech savvy person in our house 😂)

How has your/your family’s life changed since joining Prisma?

I can’t remember the last time we have had a fight over work or any of the responsibilities Major has. Major used to get annoyed or angry with us very easily over chores or schoolwork, and we would get annoyed back. Now, we are able to just give him gentle reminders if we need to, and he is fine! His dad and I don’t fight about Major anymore either. Major asks for help, and we actually now have more time to spend together since he is not out of the house all day. There is a lot more peace and trust in our home and I don’t worry about Major the way I used to. I actually cried when I told him how proud I was of him when he finished his last cycle and how he has grown so much. Enrolling Major in Prisma is the best educational decision we could have made for him.

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