Too many of the current educational systems, structures, and standards were developed for the world of the past. To ensure that our learners succeed in and significantly contribute to the future they will inherit, we started from scratch and developed a new, proprietary educational framework for the 21st century. All learning at Prisma is through the lens of this “prismatic” framework.
Prisma learners build contextual, foundational academic knowledge not to pass tests or check boxes, but to open doors for their future learning in high school, college, and beyond.
- Language literacy
Reading comprehension, grammar, and text analysis
Mathematical operations, number sense, and data science
- Scientific principles
Scientific systems & the scientific method
- Historical & global context
History, geography, and civics
- Technology literacy
Coding, typing, computer skills
How it happens
Learners build their understanding of core academic skills and concepts via our Individualized Learning Routines. They reinforce this learning via our Workshops and Projects which apply academics in a real-world, interdisciplinary way. At Prisma, our goal is for learners to grow at least 150% of the ‘expected’ rate for their grade level and we have found this to be attainable thanks to our individualized approach to academics.
At Prisma, we believe that creativity, critical thinking, and communication are the superpowers that will maximize learners’ future potential, and that project-based learning is the best way to develop these skills.
Encouraging learners to think differently and express themselves creatively is at the heart of what we do.
- Critical thinking
The ability to synthesize and evaluate information to make informed decisions is a critical skill that is often lacking in our world today.
Persuasive expression of ideas, both verbally and in writing, is one of the most important skills a person can have.
How it happens
Learners think critically about big questions by conducting research, analyzing sources, and building media literacy during Synchronous Workshops. They invent solutions, test theories, and express themselves creatively via our Project-based learning. They voice their opinions and develop their oral and written confidence via demo days, learning journals, writing workshops and synchronous discussions.
We empower learners to tackle the challenges of the future—and we start by trusting them to understand them today.
- Global perspective
Learners explore and appreciate the world’s cultures. They understand and investigate global issues and current events.
- Empathy & compassion
Learners are open to diverse perspectives and experiences. They seek to understand and include others.
- Past, present and future
Learners know that the past impacts the present and what we do today shapes our future. They study issues in context and from multiple sides.
How it happens
Our curriculum is organized into six themes annually that explore global, societal and personal issues relevant to kids. These are explored via our synchronous workshops and our Projects. Learners also explore current events via our daily standups and develop empathy and compassion during circle time.
We believe that the jobs of the future will require certain ways of thinking & working more than they will require certain knowledge. At Prisma, we want learners to practice these habits every day.
- Collaboration & teamwork
The ability to work well with others - both as a leader and a participant - is essential to success in work and in life and is a critical part of our curriculum.
- Design thinking
Developing a design thinking process is at the heart of creative problem solving. Our learners dig deep to understand problems, interview those affected, question assumptions, brainstorm, prototype and iterate.
- Reflection & revision
Achieving your best work requires regular reflection and revision. Prisma learning journals and coaches encourage this daily reflection.
- Discussion & debate
Prisma learners regularly debate issues both large and small. They learn to listen, articulate arguments, use evidence, think deeply and be open to changing their minds.
Achieving your best requires a healthy mind and a healthy body. Various aspects of our program - from journals to circle time to daily routines to health-focused themes, encourage Prisma learners to take good care of themselves.
How it happens
Teamwork and discussion is at the heart of our daily Synchronous Workshops. Our Projects require design thinking, reflection and revision. Learning journals and daily standups also provide opportunities for reflection and revision, as well as a chance for learners to think about self-care.
We believe that knowledge & skills are nothing without the mindset of a life-long learner to back them up. Life-long learners have the following traits in common:
- Self-efficacy & confidence
Developing self-confidence and a belief in your own power to affect situations is essential to life-long happiness and success.
- Emotional awareness
The ability to identify your own emotions and those of others is fundamental to forming healthy relationships, being a successful communicator and managing your own wellbeing.
- Deep purpose
Purpose brings meaning and motivation to our lives. We want learners to leave Prisma with a deep desire to have a large and meaningful impact on their communities, their nation and our world.
- Growth mindset
Helping kids understand that their abilities are not fixed, but can be developed overtime and that mistakes are not failure, but a chance to learn and grow is at the heart of our model.
- Ownership & self-direction
For many kids there is not enough opportunity to make their own decisions, take responsibility and operate autonomously during their school years which can make for a rough transition to adult life. At Prisma, kids practice these skills on a daily basis.
- Love of learning
Every child enters the world loving learning, but along the way many kids lose this spark. Loving learning and becoming a lifelong learner are essential to success, especially in a future where people will likely need to reinvent their careers multiple times.
How it happens
Self-efficacy and emotional awareness are developed via our social-emotional curriculum and our heavy focus on teamwork. Building a growth mindset is a focus of our coaches, our cohort culture and our assessment (which focuses on achieving your best). Finding a deep sense of purpose is encouraged by our focus on real-world issues and by our impact-focused philosophy. Ownership and self-direction are developed via the autonomy we give kids to make their own choices and organize their time. Making learning enjoyable, meaningful and interesting is embedded in all that we do.