Curriculum guide

Students design their curriculum with faculty

Our curriculum is custom-made in collaboration between our Learning Experts and each student to suit their specific interests and learning goals. Students design a journey that not only includes the required high school subjects, but also important financial literacy skills, ethics, design thinking, and life skills such as time management and professional communication.

No traditional lecture-based classes

Sora Academics

At Sora, students progress academically through Projects and Learning Expeditions.

Independent Projects at Sora

Students work on independent projects based on what they’re interested in learning or studying–anything from computer science to 18th century Victorian fashion.

When a student works on a project, they mark what academic standards or Skills they’re learning in their project plan. Once a student decides to include a Skill in their project, they work with our Learning Experts to scaffold learning resources and create a project plan to complete their work.

Students work on at least 1 individual project every month, and they meet with a member of our faculty to maintain accountability and guide them towards their project goal and deliverables.

Learning Expeditions at Sora

Once a month, students sign up for month-long Learning Expeditions that capture their interest. These expeditions are somewhat similar to a class, but they aren’t lectures. They’re socratic discussions, projects, labs, and other active-learning based formats.

Students earn academic credit based on the material covered in the Learning Expedition. Expeditions have deliverables that our Learning Experts will assess to determine what a student has learned and to what degree in our Mastery scale.

Students in Learning Expeditions meet synchronously at select times throughout the week (ex. 2 days per week). They participate in at least 2 Learning Expeditions per month.

Mastery-based curriculum

At Sora, our curriculum is measured and assessed at the academic standard level. These academic standards, or Skills, add up to all of the required high school academic subjects in Math, Science, English, and History. As students work in Learning Expeditions and work on their Projects, they demonstrate competency and even mastery over these Skills. Through this Mastery-based system, we are able to evaluate students holistically and fairly, and students have multiple chances and ways to demonstrate their knowledge.

Skills are evaluated on a Mastery scale from 0 to 4
We call these mastery levels on the scale, “Stars”. Students need an average of 2.5 stars per skill to graduate.

Students graduate from Sora by completing every Skill. Students progress academically at Sora by completing all Skills in each subject. We have over 272 skills at Sora to complete for graduation requirements.

Students progress academically at Sora by completing all Skills.

0 means that student has not been exposed to the Skill yet in a project 

1 (Recognition and Recall) means that student is aware of the concept and can call it by name but has yet to apply it.

2 (Meaning and Intent) means that student can explain or translate into their own words.

3 (Application) means that student is applying the skill to new situations and real-life circumstances.

4 (World Class Work) means that student has applied their learning in a nuanced way, multiple times.

Graduation and How Students Earn Academic Credit

We use state standards and recognized competency frameworks to break the 22 required units of study found in traditional high school core subjects into their component parts: Skills. Each subject area (English, History, Mathematics, World Languages, Science, etc.) contains dozens of Skills, that mastered in any order over their course of time at Sora, allows students to complete all of the academic subjects they need to graduate.

Instead of organizing subjects together like Math I or English II, we foster an environment where students learn organically, not through a stale sequenced, content-driven curriculum. Students progress academically at Sora by completing all 300+ required Skills in three major ways: individual projects, Learning Expeditions, and independent study. As students demonstrate competency in each Skill, we track their credits so that they can graduate on time and apply to college if needed.

Upon graduation, we package all of the individual Skills students mastered back into the core academic subjects and produce a fully-accredited, mastery-based high school transcript for colleges and institutions of higher education, complete with a GPA and project portfolio of their work.

Core Subject Requirements

Core Subject Requirements

Students at Sora receive the mastery-based transcript

Our program packages all of the individual Skills, or academic standards, back into their academic subjects and produces a mastery-based transcript for colleges and institutions of higher education. We use the innovative transcript format designed by the Mastery Transcript Consortium used by hundreds of other innovative schools across the United States.

We also feature students’ top projects and accomplishments right at the top of the transcript, so admissions counselors have more context into the in-depth work performed by students at Sora. This is important because they get to see the student’s work that represents deep knowledge and interest in a certain field or subject. This also helps students draw a clear path of their journey through our program, adding context and color to their decisions.

Frequently asked questions

How do students complete all of these Skills?
Students are responsible for hitting a certain “pace” per monthly cycle. This is a simple calculation of their total Stars required to graduate, divided by their weeks left until graduation. 

To make pace, students participate in expeditions, incorporate skills into their projects, and self-study using asynchronous resources curated on Sora Home.

Students can also choose to take AP exams
Often, students are able to receive AP-level credit for their project work, especially for longer, more in-depth projects. Students can elect to order Spring AP exams at the beginning of the Fall semester. We will also add structured guidance for each AP to their yearly path with us.

How do students learn Math? 

A foundational understanding of math concepts is essential to successfully applying math skills in practical ways. At Sora, the study of math is individualized and personalized to support a student’s understanding and mastery of subjects like Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Statistics, and more! 

Students primarily engage with math topics through Kahn Academy with the guidance of Math Learning Guides who are subject specific faculty that meet with students at least weekly to set math learning goals, assess competency, and provide resources and feedback. Learning Guides also host math challenges and small studio groups with students exploring similar math material and levels. Because we personalize math instruction, we can challenge students to pursue math concepts as high as they want to go, including college-level math and AP exams!