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.
Tim Corkran joined Prisma in Fall 2023 as a Learning Coach in our Middle School program.
Where are you based?
Tell us a little bit about your background in education prior to joining Prisma.
I have worked at all levels of pre-secondary ed, from serving as a preschool assistant for 8 months to being a Head of School for 5 years. Most of my teaching work has been in middle school English or science classrooms, but I have also been a soccer coach, a ropes course instructor, a hands-on engineering teacher, and a writing tutor. I have teaching certifications for English from both Massachusetts and Kentucky.
What most drew you to the role of learning coach at Prisma?
That’s easy: the chance to work with a fully project-based curriculum custom-designed for middle schoolers who are hungry for academic engagement. Real project-based learning allows learners to master valuable skills through repeatedly using them in material they choose to interact with. As a Prisma coach, I get to be a facilitator of meaningful activities, not a gatekeeper of knowledge. That suits my personality really well.
At Prisma, learning coaches give feedback instead of traditional letter grades. But this doesn’t mean learners aren’t challenged! What is your approach to giving feedback that pushes learners to do their best?
Feedback is a dialogue. I make sure my learners know to expect a back-and-forth on their work. But because they are kids, they must know I like them and believe in them before my constructive criticism can be effective! So I work hard to make my learners feel cared for and supportive. In 1:1 meetings, I focus on building a personal relationship. When I do this effectively, they can take the pushing and correcting as an extension of that relationship.
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?
Expository writing and speaking will be the key skill for the next generation of independent thinkers. Generating good, original ideas is the natural state of young people who are empowered by curricula such as Prisma’s— but clear communication of those ideas is not always so easy. To maximize the actualization of the products of these beautiful minds, we need to make sure learners can clearly communicate, both orally and in writing. The more complex the thinking— and they do complex thinking— the more important this becomes. Teach them to write and they will change the world!
What do you like to learn about, or what is something new you learned recently?
I love to learn about building and the trades. As the owner of numerous old houses, I am constantly fixing or enhancing aging structures and systems— thus I have to learn how to build a stairway, plumb a bathroom, tile a floor, hang some wiring, lay a foundation for an addition, etc. YouTube is a great resource for this, but I also consult friends and professionals who have more experience than I do. Working with construction materials involves the thrilling coalescence of material behaviors, tool capacity, problem solving and my capacity for learning; I love it!
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.
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.
David Waitzer is the Founding Learning Coach for our first cohort in East Asia & Oceania. In this post, he describes how his background teaching and leading for innovative international education companies will help him accelerate the growth of Prisma learners.
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