Everything we do at Prenda is designed to empower learners. That means academic progress in core subjects like math and English, but also includes higher level cognitive skills (synthesis, problem-solving, communication) and important non-cognitive skills (collaboration, growth mindset, grit). We are building a space where lifelong learners can develop, empowered and equipped to succeed in life.
A key aspect of the Prenda model is the student in the center of the model. School doesn’t “happen to you” here; learners take ownership for their education. Instead of a traditional teacher, adults in our model are learning guides.
Prenda’s model is broken out into three modes of learning: Conquer, Collaborate, and Create.
In conquer mode, students work through video content, tutorials, and problem sets on their computer. Learning playlists are aligned with state learning standards and adaptable to the individual student. The student determines the pace through personal learning goals and mastery of the subject matter. Instead of letter grades, assessment is implicitly happening all of the time in the mastery-based system. However, the focus is on the learning process rather than the current state. Effort is celebrated and progress is rewarded.
We use the word conquer to constantly remind the students and adults that we are the owners of our own learning, and we can learn anything with determination and persistence. In practice, conquer mode is a set time period where students work independently at computers. If they get stuck, they are coached on a three-step process where they 1) try to solve the problem on their own, 2) ask peers for help, and 3) work through the knowledge-finding process with the adult guide.
It’s not enough to know something; empowered learners today are able to work with other people at a deep level. Each day we put away the computers for a structured group activity, sitting face to face and working together to achieve a higher level of understanding than any one person could achieve alone. Collaborate activities include many academic subjects and formats.
Socratic Discussion - one student chooses an article for everyone to read and discuss.
Math Puzzle - the group works together to solve a real-world math problem using the three-act math format.
Debate - students prepare and articulate opposing viewpoints on an issue, scored by a student judge.
Science Project - we follow an inquiry-based process to understand a scientific principle, then practice the scientific method through a hands-on activity.
Exploration - the student in charge chooses a destination in history and assigns specialty areas, then everyone researches and teaches each other what they learned.
During create mode, students work in pairs or small groups to build learning projects. We provide prompts that invite learning in academics and life skills. Kids show their learning through videos, reports, computer programs, gardens, posters, essays, dance routines, theatrical performances, business storefronts, journals, paintings, dioramas, and many more deliverables.