When families enroll with Sora, they are choosing to join a vibrant student-centered community that offers world-class learning expeditions, versatility to map when you earn your academic credits, and the best of technology to prepare students for what they determine to pursue after high school — whether that’s higher education, research, entrepreneurship, or any other ambition. From innovative forms of academic assessment to building in flexibility that gives students real agency to make their own academic decisions, we’ve designed our school to accelerate students toward their wildest dreams.
We are intentional about putting the interests of students first and encourage independent project proposals that set them up to be challenged and grow. Committing to Sora is fundamentally a choice to connect your student to the tools and resources that will nurture their agency as life-long learners and problem-solvers.
Project-based learning is a teaching philosophy where students learn through completing projects. Faculty at Sora design courses, or expeditions, that allow students to build interdisciplinary critical thinking skills. Mastery of concepts is shown through projects, which can be in the form of written essays, video essays, visual art, 3D engineering, internships, and more. Sora utilizes project-based learning because we believe the muscles it builds for goal-setting, time management, and execution are essential for setting students up for success after graduation. Our faculty are encouraged to be coaches who serve to challenge students and help them complete their goals, not deliver boring lectures.
Sora Schools is constantly innovating the school of the future. Because we are a school designed to empower learners, we know that providing options for how students learn is important. Sora is piloting a program with KaiPod in the Greater Atlanta area in order to provide in-person options. To learn more about this partnership and how your student might participate, connect with our admissions team.
Effectiveness of Project-Based Learning
Research shows that students who engage in cooperative learning perform significantly better than lecture-based students in both recall and problem-solving. This and other data are part of the reason Sora embraces project-based learning.
Students Learn Independence and Self-Motivation
Faculty design learning expeditions where students demonstrate mastery through a choice of various projects they can complete. As they advance through the program, students can propose independent projects based on their interests. In turn, the faculty keep them accountable to their goals and support them with any roadblocks that emerge. In addition to preparing students for life after grade school, promoting student agency through project-based learning has many immediate benefits.
Throughout the program, we incorporate as much exposure to real-world applications as possible. While students are exposed to a holistic set of academic standards, they also learn important soft skills like design thinking, time management, leadership, communication, and more.
Students Don’t Take Tests
We believe traditional tests only spot-check random standards and are a poor measure of true student progress. Learn more about our curriculum here.
We’re intentional about putting student interests first and using them to create projects for students to learn real skills. Our Learning Experts help students design their projects so they can use them to learn relevant topics for that specific career or field and the required high school academic subjects. At Sora, students demonstrate their knowledge and competency through their projects, work in learning expeditions, and various learning platforms.
We don’t assess learning through arbitrary grade points in part because learning is not linear. Instead, we encourage students to go through the process of completing projects — which can often involve overcoming roadblocks and setbacks — and when they finish, we take what they did and determine what academic credit they have earned. Our mastery-based assessment incentivizes organic learning, not gaming the system for points. As students complete projects, we track their credits so that they can graduate on time and apply to college if desired. According to research studies on the effectiveness of mastery-based learning, it not only has cognitive and achievement outcomes, but also improves students’ confidence in learning situations, school attendance rates, involvement in-class sessions, attitudes toward learning, and a variety of other effective measures.
Because we’re measuring individual credits, students can visualize their learning progress and where they need to spend more time for mastery. Over time, students complete all of the academic subjects they need to graduate.
Each student has a periodic meeting with their advisor to check in on their academic life, graduation progress, personal and professional development, and overall experience at Sora.
A student’s advisor is their accountability partner and mentor. They’re meant to help provide the resources they need to succeed with their learning plan, but also help them develop personally and professionally to achieve it. They stay on top of a student’s goals, connect them with resources like our Mentor Network, and provide a personal perspective of the student in their collaboration with the learning experts.
Learning experts serve two roles at Sora. They create and host learning expeditions, which are six-week active learning experiences for students held a couple of times per week and centered on a topic based on community-level interest such as Saving the Coral Reefs or Ancient Hebrew Literature. They also meet with students to design and scope their independent projects, ensuring that they meet certain academic standards in their work and guiding them along with their projects throughout the cycle. Unlike traditional teachers, learning experts do not lecture students–they focus on facilitating their learning by answering their questions, encouraging discussion and active learning between students, and more.
Unlike traditional schools which have rigid schedules, Sora offers a flexible learning journey for its students. Students have the choice of which order to earn their academic credits, allowing them to stay on track towards high school graduation while also making time for passions, businesses, research, and other endeavors students may already be undertaking.
The schedule at Sora generally ranges from 9 AM to 3 PM, with some differences for students in different time zones. Our program blends synchronous and asynchronous learning: learning expeditions, house standup and checkpoints, and school-wide meetings and events are synchronous, and project work and work for learning expeditions are generally asynchronous. Our schedule style prepares students to become more independent over time and to succeed in more self-directed environments such as college and the workplace.
We know that self-direction may take students towards college, which is why we offer a college prep couseling to support students with planning and submitting their applications. Just as likely, students may want to already start working towards their careers while in high school, which is why we offer an extensive career mentorship network that participates in regular community programming.