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.
Where are you based?
While I’m from Toronto, Canada and visit dear family and friends there every summer— I live in Bangkok, Thailand and love it! I first moved here to teach at an international school, and have since decided to make it my home base. It’s such an interesting city and a beautiful country! The community here is incredible: tons of people from all over the world, working together, focusing on progressive, creative, and human-centered projects.
Tell us a little bit about your background in education prior to joining Prisma.
I’ve always been passionate about opportunities to help people level up on their own terms, starting with my first job out of undergrad working in market intelligence. It was so cool to see how much of an impact well-tailored guidance could have on professional trajectories. This led me to dedicate the bulk of my career to working in international schools, both as a teacher and administrator.
In 2020, I pivoted from my most recent international school position in Bogota and took myself on quite the productive growth journey! I started by helping to run an insect agriculture company, then starting a registered mental health charity, founding a holistic tutoring company, and facilitating teacher training at Synthesis School—a gamified edtech company focused on developing collaborative problem solvers. I’m so excited to apply all my learning while continuing to grow with the Prisma community.
What most drew you to the role of Learning Coach & Development Lead for our Australasia cohort?
I think this role fits who I am, allowing me to build meaningful relationships with learners while helping to develop systems for the success of our programs as we grow on this side of the globe. I love how Prisma is a remote community that leverages opportunities for elevating the online student journey from the ground up, prioritizing a holistic, student-centered experience. Beyond the vision and follow-through of the collective, every person I’ve talked to at Prisma has been so dedicated, caring, and capable.
You have a lot of experience with different educational models. What do you see as the difference between being a traditional teacher and being a “learning coach,” and what is your approach to supporting learners?
As a teacher, I’ve always prioritized fostering the social and emotional aspects of student growth. My beliefs as an educator—and understanding of what truly matters for students—was sometimes at odds with somewhat rigid curricula and tools for measuring progress.
The best coaches support folks as they work towards their own goals while helping them evolve their efforts to align with their best interests. I’m most excited about my role as a learning coach affording me the opportunity to meet each learner where they’re at and helping them get to where they want to be. There is so much value in highly individualized, interdisciplinary, project-based learning with lots of intentional support and communal growth—and that is what Prisma is all about!
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?
Critical reflection is a vital skill that will only become more valuable in the future as technological assistance permeates through more complex intellectual, creative, and emotional processes. Dedication to courageous and intentional self-awareness can help us align our efforts with our goals, understand motivators as well as blockers, and constructively consider multiple perspectives. I love learning about how our minds work and how much potential there is for us to work better with our minds.
What do you like to learn about, or what is something new you learned recently?
Some of my favorite topics to learn about are behavioral economics and social psychology, as I think the understandings in these areas are pretty much universally applicable to the human experience. I’d say I spend about a third of my reading time on those topics! Currently, I’m participating in a course focusing on helping students develop healthy emotional relationships with mathematics, which is fascinating! I recently finished a series of workshops on responsive classrooms in elementary and middle school contexts- so much cool stuff in there related to cultivating supportive and high-performing learning communities. I’m also reading about restorative justice in educational contexts and love the idea of focusing on communal healing over imposing consequences.
We’re fans of online learning, but it depends how it’s done. Here’s some pros and cons of different kinds of online homeschooling resources to consider, plus links to a variety of options.
Unit studies blend multiple subjects together to create real-world, interest-driven learning experiences. Steal the approach our curriculum experts use to create themes with a free downloadable unit study planner.
“The curriculum at Prisma allows learners to learn about their strengths and use their passions in an organic and interdisciplinary way. The kids have the freedom to choose by having differentiated projects, quests, enrichments, and clubs.”
You might be hearing from friends, extended family, and random strangers in the doctor’s office “there’s no way your kid will be able to get into a good college as a homeschooler.” Impolite, yes. True? Let’s figure it out.
“The amount of support and check-ins our learners have at Prisma is unparalleled compared to anywhere else I’ve ever worked.”
Each of the most popular homeschool styles has existed for a long time, and each has diehard evangelizers and fervent critics. From classical to unit studies to unschooling, this guide will help you find the form best suited to your family.
“What most drew me to Prisma was the chance to work with a fully project-based curriculum custom-designed for middle schoolers who are hungry for academic engagement.”
The best online school for your family is a question of priorities: More support or lower tuition costs? Traditional or project-based academics? Asynchronous or lots of interaction? We break it down in this post.
Prisma has hundreds of learners across the Western Hemisphere. Along the way, we've gotten requests to launch cohorts in new time zones from families around the world who want to be part of what we’re building. Next up is East Asia & Oceania!
Middle School Curriculum Designer Lizzie uses her diverse experiences: studying Literature at Harvard, leading outdoor adventure expeditions, and teaching high school English, to help Prisma learners find their voices.
The pandemic has made homeschooling easier than ever before with a boom of online options from curriculum, to part-time programs, to full-time schools. But which is best for your family?
Prisma High School’s Launchpad Program will prepare learners to tackle their next phase, be it college, training, or an exciting career. Trevor Baker, our LaunchPad program designer, describes how he sets learners up for success.
You might have to jump in at first. But eventually, with the right modeling and practice, kids can develop the skills to make thoughtful decisions.
Middle School Curriculum Designer Gabe, an expert in interdisciplinary learning with a PhD from the University of Michigan, explains how he designs themes that blend together STEM and literacy.
One of the most fun parts of being a homeschooling parent is creating fun learning experiences for your kiddos! In this post, we share our favorite at-home activities and online resources.
Our Head of Middle School Curriculum explains how her team blends core subjects and real-world topics to design “hard fun” cycle themes.
One of the reasons our team wanted to develop a new kind of school was because we felt traditional schooling doesn’t put enough emphasis on developing emotionally intelligent kids. But what is emotional intelligence and how do you develop it?
"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
Media literacy is touted as one of the most important “21st century skills” for kids to master, in line with creativity, communication, and grit. Thinking through the amount of time most of us spend interacting with some form of media each day makes a good case for this.
“Lauren is fantastic and has struck a nice balance of connecting with Cooper and keeping him on task. I'm impressed to see real growth in Cooper around self awareness, reflecting on his “glows and grows,” and goal setting.” -Kym J., Prisma parent
“I've seen growth in my kids, and most importantly a solid relationship between them and their coaches. We feel so grateful for these amazing humans that have entered our kids' lives. My kids' words exactly: ‘These teachers actually want to be here. They really care!’ ” -Katie M., Parent in Kimberly’s Cohort
By introducing these concepts at home, you're setting your child up to be more financially responsible and savvy, giving them the tools to navigate an increasingly complex financial world.
“I’m so happy to have an opportunity to call out Javi. As a math educator myself I am really impressed with how he presents math concepts, differentiates for and challenges learners as needed. From a social-emotional perspective he is so kind, patient and invested in the kids as a whole. I am so happy he is Brynn’s math coach.” -Chandra S., Prisma parent
The ability to tolerate frustration is not merely about weathering the storm of the moment, but about instilling the persistence, adaptability, and resilience that set your child up for future success.
“We are eternally grateful for Prisma and the wonderful people who work there - especially the coaches - whose patience and expertise make our kids feel seen and heard and loved while also coaching them to learn knowledge and skills.” -Ashley S., Parent in Angie’s cohort