Meet Carolyn Ruffin

"Carolyn is a miracle worker in math. Piper's attitude towards math has improved so much this year. It's never been her favorite subject but Carolyn's patience and encouragement has made such a positive impact." -Alexia A., Prisma parent

Emily Veno
August 24, 2023

Prisma is the world’s most engaging virtual school that prepares kids for the ever-changing world of the future. Our team of educators have a diverse background of experience on the cutting edge of teaching and learning, whether they’ve worked in brick and mortar schools or dynamic online environments. In our Meet the Team blog series, you’ll get to read more about the amazing educators behind Prisma.

Carolyn Ruffin is a Math Learning Coach and Math Intervention Coordinator across Prisma Middle School and Prisma High School who started with Prisma in the 22-23 school year.

Where are you based? 

I currently live in Norfolk, Virginia with my husband Will, our cat Chip, and our golden retriever Weller.

Tell us a little bit about your background in education prior to joining Prisma. 

I haven’t always been a middle/high school educator! After studying psychology and French in college, I worked in training and professional development for a startup in Washington, D.C. I realized I loved helping people learn and grow, so I decided to get my Masters in Teaching from the University of Virginia with endorsements in special education, English Language Learning, and math. I taught special education and math for six years in traditional secondary public schools before joining Prisma!

What is your favorite part about your role at Prisma?

My favorite part about Prisma is the relationships with learners and other coaches. We hear so much these days about how and why relationships matter, but when I was teaching in traditional schools, relationships somehow always came second to test scores or certain admin-driven outcomes (to my great disappointment).  At Prisma, I have the time to develop deep relationships with each of my learners. I love knowing about their lives, what cool projects they are working on, and about their dreams for the future. 

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.

What sets Prisma’s approach to math apart from traditional schools? 

At Prisma, learners understand how math is useful and applicable to their lives. Instead of emphasizing “tricks” or test-taking strategies, learners dig into math in deeper and more meaningful ways. During a recent 1:1, a learner was all smiles as she told me how she can see how everything we’ve been doing in math connects. It was those patterns and discoveries that were motivating her – not a grade or a looming test. Prisma encourages and supports that same discovery for every math learner!

If you could pick one skill that all kids should master to prepare for the world of the future, what would it be and why? 

Collaboration! Our world is becoming more and more connected, and the more we can successfully collaborate, the more amazing things we will see! Regardless of where life takes you, being able and willing to solve a problem with a team, give and receive feedback, or even ask an expert for advice will be so important.  

What do you like to learn about, or what is something new you learned recently? 

I love mastering recipes in the kitchen. My ultimate goal is to be a baker who doesn’t have to measure ingredients or read a recipe, but just knows the right amounts by look and feel. I am currently perfecting my homemade bread (although if I am honest, the bread doesn’t have to be perfect to be devoured with some cheese or jam!!). I enjoy reading books about baking and cooking, and was recently very inspired by Stanley Tucci’s memoir Taste: My Life Through Food.

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