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Online Schooling for the 21st Century

Featuring Guest -

Victoria Ransom

Headshot of podcast host.
hosted by: Brandon Stover
EP
72
January 3, 2022

This interview is part of the series of research interviews on the education crisis and how we can solve it. If you want to hear the other experts, please see our education thesis.

Victoria Ransom is the Founder & CEO of Prisma, the world's first connected learning network for K-12 that fully replaces regular school. Victoria's track record as a serial entrepreneur comes from developing 3 companies including Wildfire,  a social marketing software company, Victoria led the company to profitability in just one year and built the company to tens of thousands of customers, 400 employees, and eight offices worldwide. Clients included 31 of the world’s top 50 brands. Wildfire was acquired by Google in August 2012 for $450M. Victoria joined Google as Director of Product, initially leading Wildfire and later Google Express.  But after having 3 children, Victoria and her husband and cofounder Alain Chuard, wondered, could they prepare their children to thrive in a tumultuous, ever-changing world? So they set out to reimagine what school could be.

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what you'll learn in this episode

  • What are the problems of today's education system
  • How to personalize a student's learning and scale it for others
  • How to foster a community of learners online in engaging experiences
  • How to decide big problems worth solving
  • and much more...

How Victoria Believes We Can Push The World To Evolve

It's no surprise that I would say education is the key ways to get the world to evolve.

Selected Links & Resources From This Episode

Connect With Victoria Ransom:

Resources

People Mentioned

Timestamps

  • (00:00) - Introduction
  • (01:22) - What are the problems of today's education system
  • (05:31) - How to research education from an outside perspective
  • (07:40) - How school funding and higher education influence K-12 education
  • (10:24) - What is Prisma?
  • (14:10) - What is the purpose of education?
  • (15:23) - A day in the life of a Prisma learner
  • (19:56) - How to personalize a student's learning
  • (23:16) - How to scale personalized learning
  • (28:02) - Curating vs creating educational content
  • (31:43) - How to celebrate student learning
  • (34:37) - Badges vs grades
  • (37:36) - How to foster a community of learners online
  • (40:16) - Creating engaging online experiences for students
  • (45:32) - Results of Prisma learning
  • (49:42) - How has Prisma's model changed
  • (53:40) - How to decide problems worth solving
  • (58:26) - How to launch a company during a recession
  • (1:02:17) - How Prisma built their team of educators
  • (1:03:48) - Call to Action
  • (1:04:16) - How we can push the world to Evolve

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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Victoria Ransom Interview

[00:00:00] Brandon Stover: Hey, you welcome to evolve the show to help you become a hero and solve the world's greatest challenges. I'm your host, Brandon Stover, founder of Plato university. And I interview social innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers about the global problems we face and the solutions they have created to solve them.

Today's challenge education. Our guest is Victoria ransom, founder and CEO of Prisma the world's first connected learning network for K through 12. That fully replaces regular school Victoria's track record. As a serial entrepreneur comes from developing three companies, including wildfire, which was acquired by Google in 2012, for 450 million.

But after having three children, Victoria, and her husband, and co-founder. Elaine Chu ARD wondered, could they prepare their children to thrive in a tumultuous ever-changing world. So they set out to reimagine what school could be. And today Victoria is going to share what she discovered was wrong with the traditional education system and how Prisma was designed to change this.

This interview is part of the series of research interviews on the education crisis and how we can solve it. If you want to hear the other experts, please visit evolve the.world/research/education.

Well, to help our listeners understand the problem from first principles, what are the root or core problems with traditional education now?

[00:01:22] Victoria Ransom: There are a few. And you know, at the end of the day, I, I would say there's no one education that suits every kid. So there are some kids for whom the traditional model of education seems to work pretty well. And ironically, I was probably one of those kids. But then I think there's a whole bunch of kids for whom it doesn't work really well.

And for a number of reasons, one, one of the first things that comes to mind is just this very sort of convey about nature of education, where kids come in at a certain age because they're that age and they're putting a certain grade level. And because of that grade level, they're expected to know certain things and to move at a certain pace.

And so the kids that are capable of moving faster, Too bad. They just have to be a bit bored or a bit frustrated. And the kids that need a little more time unfortunately get left behind. And, and so you have kids that are expected to move into fifth grade, but they never really fully grasp fourth grade.

So then that problem only compounds. So I think there's inability of the traditional education system to differentiate based on kids. Differing speeds of learning. And even with the same kid, you're going to have one kid that can move very fast and is very advanced in math, but needs to really take their time with writing, for example, or reading.

So that is one of the problems. Another problem is I just think there's been a loss of focus on the inherent joy of learning. That learning is amazing. It's interesting. It's exciting. I think kids are born wanting to learn, watch a little kid at play and they are, they're working all day long at play and they're learning and somewhere along the way, focus on testing is one of the reasons which I'll touch on, but just we've forgotten that learning can and should be really exciting and really interesting and really engaging. And if you don't start with that, how can we really expect kids to bring their full selves to school if they're not loving it?

And yeah, testing, I think is one piece of the problem that takes away the joy of learning. You know, it's, again, this focus on making sure that kids know certain things which I think takes away a lot of the creativity that teaches would otherwise like to bring to the classroom. It puts pressure on teachers to move at a certain speed, puts pressure on kids.

And you know, some kids are good at taking tests. Lots of kids are not. And so then they can't really demonstrate their learning in a way that is most effective for them. So testing is a problem. I think is just the focus on traditional education of knowledge to knowledge recall, and also breaking, learning up into academic disciplines, which is not how the world works.

And so, you know, we certainly have a perspective at Prisma that learning should be interdisciplinary because that's how it makes more sense. And also because that is how the world works and that it should be as hands-on and applied to the real world as possible. I think for so many kids, they sit in classrooms and they say, why am I learning this?

When will I ever need this? Which again, takes away that motivation. But there are many ways to apply the learning that kids do in schools to real world problems that are relevant to kids. And again, that's something we, we focus a lot on at Prisma so that I could keep going, but those are some of the bigger things that come to

[00:04:46] Brandon Stover: no, I think a big part of it is this shift from the intrinsic motivation that we're born with. You know, humans are very malleable. We're not an animal that's already born with everything program. We're programmed to keep learning, to adapt. And we shift that from intrinsic to enter exotic things like grades and trying to get into a college or, fitting in these subject silos.

And I think that's a, a real crime for the students

[00:05:12] Victoria Ransom: Yeah, because then you get out into a world where you're not given ABC D grades anymore and you have to learn to find your own motivation and to find your own way. And yeah, I absolutely agree. Kids are naturally intrinsically motivated to learn and challenge themselves, but it gets taken away along through the, through the process, through the system.

[00:05:31] Brandon Stover: Yeah. As an entrepreneur with, not previous experience within the education space, how did you approach a researching it so that you truly understood these problems and the needs of your learners?

[00:05:42] Victoria Ransom: as happens with a lot of entrepreneurs, I think it came from our own personal needs. So my husband and I are the founders of Prisma and we started reaching researching education because of our own three children. The oldest of which was approaching kindergarten age. And as she did, we started to really question how we wanted to educate our kids. In our case it's it's because we live in an area.

It actually, there's no lack of great schools or at least schools that are highly regarded. But there's a lot of pressure put on kids. And so that's what sort of led us on a path of wanting to understand what other ways there are educating kids. And so through sort of our own motivation, we, we first looked at innovative schools in our neighborhood, and then we looked at innovative schools in a more globally.

And then we looked at different models of schooling, like micro schooling, and eventually. And to homeschooling and through all of that, that both gave us a pretty good breadth. I think of insight into different ways to educate kids. And what we discovered is there's actually no shortage of really innovative, exciting schools out there, but they tend to be sort of one off, one little interesting school in this area.

Usually private, usually really expensive. And so whilst there are lots of really interesting schools, very few kids are getting access to them. And so that was one of the things that really motivated us to look beyond just, oh, what's the ideal educational model for our own kids to think about.

Well, now that we've started to crystallize views about this, could we create an approach to education that would bring some of these more innovative methods. Get kids excited and, and tailor education to their particular needs and speed of learning. Could we do it in a way that reach large numbers of kids if it really works, which was part of the motivation for having a virtual home-based approach to, to Prisma?

[00:07:40] Brandon Stover: In your research, what did you come across in the other systems outside of education that are really exacerbating the problems that are within education.

[00:07:50] Victoria Ransom: a few things come to mind. One is just. The inequality in the system. So the fact that the resource allocation given to schools is so incredibly different across different neighborhoods. And I think it's that problem exists around the world, but it's really exacerbated in the us, given that property taxes are used to allocate school funding.

So I think you know, there's problems enough in the system, but then when you have some schools being given far greater resources and others, much better teachers, much better resources that just creates a whole other level of problems. And it's so often the kids that anyway, we're at a disadvantage because they weren't getting the preschool education or they weren't getting as much focused on education in their homes for a variety of reasons.

Then going to schools that are inherently not as good from day one, that's a big problem. This is not exactly not related to education, but it is, you know, it is a different from K-12 education. That is university education. I think the university system is really stifling innovation in the K-12 system, because it's just got such a hold on, entry, the entryway into careers.

So, you know, there's, there's such a sense and it's true that you have to have a college degree to have a great career. And now it's sort of, even, you have to have a master's degree. It's, it's the, you know, It's upping the ante. And therefore there is so much focus on and fear from parents and, and their teenage kids about getting into college.

And you know, it it's believed that to get into college. You have to have good grades and good GPA. You have to take in advanced placement courses. You have to test it well, which really encourages the focus on all of these sort of more traditional approaches to education that we just discussed with the extrinsic motivation and the focus on knowledge recall.

And I think it just, even with parents who can look and school administrators and teachers who can look and say, this is not the best way for me to educate my kid, this kid, they are so focused on, on not taking any risks that would mess up this path to college that you just plow forward doing what doesn't seem right to the kid.

So I think, yeah, that is a host system, which sort of, you know, stifles risk taking and creativity in the K-12 education system, I think.

[00:10:24] Brandon Stover: Yeah. Well, you guys, this proposed solution is a new, innovative online school called Prisma. Can you share with our listeners what Prisma is and how it's different than a traditional.

[00:10:34] Victoria Ransom: Sure. So we are a comprehensive solution for fourth through eighth graders currently focused on four through eight who are learning from home or frankly from anywhere they like anywhere in the world. We are not like a typical online school though. I would say sort of online schools have tended to take the traditional model of education and deliver it online, which to some, in some respects is the worst of both worlds.

So, you know, they still have grades and they still have lectures. You know, some online schools that we know of, your kids can't even talk. They just have to listen. They still have textbooks. They may be delivering. Chronically, but they feel a lot like textbooks. And so we are very different from that because we're very much focused on project based learning.

Hands-on learning into disciplinary, tying, learning to the real world. We're very much focused on kids moving at their own pace. Sort of slotting into math at whatever level they're at with math and reading, with whatever level they're at with reading. So we take a very innovative or progressive approach to education and deliberate online.

We are very different from traditional homeschool. Because we focus a lot on community and making Prisma a very social experience. So kids are a part of a cohort of kids that they see and interact with and learn with really regularly. You know, they start their day, every day with the same small group of kids and their coach was what we call stand-ups, which are very much based on community building.

And sharing with one another in social, emotional development, our workshops are super interactive. It's the kids that are discussing and collaborating. And, you know, in those cases, it's the adult in the room as the facilitator, not the sort of Sage on the stage.

The other thing is that we have coaches, they have small group of kids that they get to know really, really well, and they are there to help bring out the best in that child. Understand what they're excited about, understand what they're capable of, give them very rich iterative feedback.

Cause we don't have grades at Prisma. We believe in the process of giving feedback to a kid as they're working their way through a project or through a piece of writing so that that learner can go back and revise. And theoretically, by the time they finish, it is their best work versus sort of a traditional approach where a kid doesn't assignment gets a grade moves on and never gets a chance to go back. And even if you get an a there's always room to do better. Always room to do better. So very different from a homeschooling, but have some similarities.

And then of course, you know, we're, we're different from traditional bricks and mortar schooling in that it is a fully virtual model. That's very flexible or let's say fully virtual.

We have some in-person elements where we have clusters of kids in the same area. So it's just a very flexible model. Kids have flexibility. Around their schedule, they have geographic flexibility. So we have some Prisma families that are literally weld schooling right now. So yeah, we, we think it is taking some of the best elements from some of the best models out there, but repurposing them in a way that's a really very different approach to education.

One that's very flexible to the needs of the child. Very flexible to sort of our changing world. We very much believe in Prisma being something that's constantly changing and that we're constantly iterating and we're constantly bringing in subject matter that relates to what's happening today, or what's going to happen in the future.

And then very flexible to the needs of the family because schedule and geography are flexible to.

[00:14:10] Brandon Stover: Yeah, a hundred percent very comprehensive. Before we dive into some of the specifics that you touched on, on a high level, what do you think the purpose of education or schooling?

[00:14:19] Victoria Ransom: Oh, great question. Cause I think we've forgotten that I think somewhere along the way we came to believe that schooling is for kids to get good test scores or perhaps to get into college. I think education is to prepare kids to really thrive in their adult lives and ideally to want to positively contribute to their communities and their worlds in this.

Adult lives. Yeah, that, that is ultimately what we should be doing at school is, is giving kids the tools they need to really thrive as adults and to be positive members of society. But I think along the way, we've narrowed it down to sort of school is school is succeeding. If you get good test scores or, or perhaps school is a school is doing well, if you get kids into college, but you know, they there's giving kids the tools and the mindset and the skills they'll need to succeed in adult life.

You can't wait until college for that. You've got to start really young. That's when kids are most sponge-like and malleable, I think.

[00:15:23] Brandon Stover: Well, from the elements that you mentioned in the description of Prisma, can you walk me through, if I was a learner today, what a day in the life of a student would be like?

[00:15:32] Victoria Ransom: Yeah, absolutely. So it is a mix of synchronous experiences and asynchronous because there's a lot of value to getting kids to get the live, but you shouldn't be doing that all day long. Like some schools did do during COVID that gets exhausting. Plus there's a lot of efficiency to having kids learn at their own pace, working asynchronously on projects.

And like I said, ex Prisma is flexible. So no kids, no two kids have exactly the same Prisma day because we actually, one of the first things that our coach will do with a learner and their parent is create a custom schedule that really works best for that child based on when they like to start their day or particular extracurriculars that they have.

But Roughly a Prisma day will look like the following starts with stand up. Some kids may do some of their asynchronous project work or what we call missions before stand up, others won't. But stand up is like I said, the same group of kids, same coach. They get together every day, except Fridays, Fridays are actually even more flexible and open Prisma.

But Monday through Thursday and standup is focused on sort of building community and a support group for kids. There's quite often sort of sharing with one another. How you doing, how you feeling what's going on in your life? Talking about what's happening in the world. Sometimes it's just playing fun, interactive games and team games and that sort of thing.

So that really the standup groups build a tight community. And then You know, there's usually a block of time where kids would be working on their projects. We do, we're really focused on project based learning. Then they have a one main daily workshop.

Sometimes there's more than one, but usually kids are not doing more than two. Usually their lifetime is between 90 minutes and two and a half hours max each day. But among the, a lot of workshops that kids might have on a given day, we have a ethical decision making workshop, which is really we give kids real scenarios.

Something that really happened in the world or at least an adaptation of that. And they have to work their way through you know, decision-making related to that scenario recently, the kids were actually towed on their first day, first day of ethical decision making workshop. Congratulations, you've been chosen to be the first members of the first mission to Mars.

And then the whole workshop over a series of five weeks because we operate in five weeks cycles and each cycle has a theme, was a series of ethical decisions. The kids hit to make in the context of their space mission. The first decision was turns out there's one seat free. Here's a, here's a different people that could feel that last seat, you know, are wealthy billionaire that could help to finance this mission.

Or we could do a lottery. So it is truly you know, everybody has the same chance or we could bring a journalist on board so that we can document what's going on and there's no right answer, but kids have to work their way through that. So we have ethical decision-making workshops. We have problem solving workshops where kids are working in small groups to solve real problems often in a hands-on way.

So we have our daily workshops kids also work through what we call missions. So they have math missions and writing missions and reading missions, which really sort of augment and reinforce the interdisciplinary work that they're doing in their projects. So they'd have a block of time set aside.

Maybe one kid wants to focus Mondays on their math mission. Maybe another kid actually does better by doing smaller chunks. So they'll do a little bit of their math mission and a little bit of their writing mission. We have student run club. That are scattered throughout the week. Although a lot of those run on Fridays and they, we will build breaks into a kid's schedule.

So there'll be a break for some kind of physical activity, whatever the kid is into that we build into their schedule. But yeah, it's, it's most Prisma learners would be roughly working on their prisoner work, but there's some breaks in between from, let's say nine to two 30 or three. And the idea is they're done, then there's no wrangling over homework in the evenings.

There's no sort of spend all day in school and then come home and do all of your practice, work in the evenings and go to bed late. You get your work done during the day and the rest of the day is free for you to pursue other interests.

[00:19:56] Brandon Stover: Yeah, very nice. Speaking to the independent learning routines that students do, asynchronously, how do you guys personalize each student's learning routine? So it's specific to their interests or their capabilities.

[00:20:09] Victoria Ransom: in a couple of ways one is by trying to get to know the needs and interests of the child as much as we can. And that's where you have a mentor coach who frankly gets better and better at that over time. But when a learner first joins Prisma. You know, there is a an initial meeting or several between the child and the mental coach and the parent where they would learn things like, you know, what is this child particularly interested in LA I'm really interested in coding.

Should we build some time into their learning routine for them to spend time coding? Are they particularly interested in learning a language let's build time in for that? So it's sort of interested. Do they have certain extracurriculars we're trying to work around? So they're sort of making sure we have time for their interests and their schedule.

We also have kids take it's a nationally recognized assessment. In math and in reading. And we have our own writing assessment and that is so that we can slot them in at the best possible level for where they're at with math. So we put kids together into math groups, for example, that are working on the same, what we call math mission, which is a mix of adaptive math apps and our own problems that we create.

Real weld application of what the kids are learning and they can get to choose from different sort of real world scenarios that they're trying to solve. Use the math I've been learning to solve. But, and then we have live math workshops and math support groups, but, you know, we might have a fifth grader.

That's actually doing seventh grade math or w although we won't tell them you're in the seventh grade math group, they're just in it. We actually use the names of mathematicians

[00:21:54] Brandon Stover: Oh, nice.

[00:21:54] Victoria Ransom: But perhaps for writing, they're actually more likely to fourth grade level. They would be with other kids that are more at a fourth grade level in writing.

So we also you know, have an assessment at the beginning before they joined Prisma to try to make sure we're slotting them in to the best possible Le the level that's most appropriate to them. And then we will adjust if, if somehow that's not working then as the coach gets to see and know and understand that learner better and better, we'll just make adjustments to the schedule.

We'll make adjustments to the level that they're working at . It's one of the things that our coaches. Really talk about a lot and value is how amazing and wonderful it is for them to be able to get to know, to have the time they need to get to know kids really, really well.

What makes them tick what's siting for them, what they're capable of? Because I think in a coming back to the traditional sort of system, teachers are stretched so thin. They just, as much as they wish they could have time to get to know every kid at a very deep level, they don't have time for that. And so that's something that prison has put a lot of focus on.

[00:22:59] Brandon Stover: speaking a little bit from the logistical side. And thinking about like traditional education, a lot of times they produce the same curriculum for everybody because it's able to scale for, you know, X amount of kids when you have you know, I think your cohort was around 30 students.

Your for your first one.

[00:23:15] Victoria Ransom: The first year.

[00:23:16] Brandon Stover: Yes. So when you have 30 students coming in and they each have personalized, curriculum or learning paths, how do you start to scale that or make it manageable?

[00:23:25] Victoria Ransom: Right. And you know, now we're much more than 30 year old, almost a hundred kids. So now we're trying to scale that across we do it through, by offering choice because one of the things we've actually learned, and I think this may be different at the high school level, but at the sort of four through eighth grade level is it is really important to give kids choice.

And to empower kids to have sort of responsibility over their learning and over there, their schedules and choice over what they're learning, but giving them sort of complete open choice. Like you can do whatever you want is actually paralyzing for most kids at that age. So we have sort of a model of kids always get choice, but within some boundaries.

And part of the reason for creating boundaries is one, you know, if you just create complete open book, you can do it. You can learn whatever you want today. Most kids find that pretty overwhelming. The other is we've found it's really nice to unify. Have you some unification of what the learners at Prisma are focusing on because then they can have Richard discussions and they can collaborate on projects.

what we do at Prisma is I mentioned before we operate in five weeks cycles and each cycle has a theme, it's a broad theme. So that there's a lot of room for kids to go in different drains. That same. But it is a theme that sort of nevertheless, unifies everything the kids are doing during those five weeks.

So for example, themes at prisoner have included cities of the future. We just finished a theme code, uncharted territories, where kids were learning. Space exploration and deep sea exploration. And there's a lot of stem learning there. We've done in ventures studio where kids were real inventors and they were learning all about the design thinking process.

Hidden histories was a history focused, but really looking at us history from the perspective of lessons we can learn today. But within that, kids are able to choose from different, they can go in different directions. So basically every five weeks kids are working on a project and they actually present their project at the end of the five weeks at an expo day where the whole Prisma community and parents and grandparents show up You know a prisoner, the prisoner cycle starts off with kids, just generally learning about the theme.

And we curated a whole library of podcasts and videos and articles and infographics that kids can choose what interests them most related to the theme. So there's a bunch of choice in there. You know, different kids can go in different directions and then they actually spend the next week of the cycle working on a bunch of little mini projects that enable them to sort of explore the theme, figure out what areas interest the most.

You know, I've applied their skills to different areas. So again, in our curriculum team creates a whole library of little mini projects. You know, with cities of the future, they ranged from kids, a project where kids could go outside with, you know, household materials and build a real rocket that actually launched really high.

And, and they had to reflect on that, what they're learned and document it too. Another option was to create a TedTalk about related to cities of the future, or they could learn about natural disasters in their area and come up with a real disaster readiness plan for their family.

So as you know, a whole range of mini-projects, so lots of choice there for kids to go in the direction they want to go in. And then kids work on their main project that they spend the rest of the cycle working on and that they presented expo day. And again, there's a number of different projects that kids can choose from.

With cities of the future. It ranged from a project that was very much focused on public art and the importance of public art and cities to a project that was focused on building a city on Mars and the future or the long, long term future of cities to environmentally friendly building techniques and kids learning about that.

And coming up with their own environmentally friendly building, some kids did in Minecraft, some kids did with real materials and then writing a letter to your city council arguing why your building should get funding. And then we also for kids that really Full flexibility with the option of kids to design their own project.

So it is really excited about some area that our choice of projects is not touching on. They can write a project proposal, you know, they have to really think about it. They have to meet certain criteria to make sure that we're, they're really going to stretch themselves. And they're really gonna get the sort of key learnings from the cycle, but they can come up with their own project.

So, you know, there's a bunch of different directions that kids could go in, but nevertheless, it is unified by sort of all the kids are learning about the same broad theme.

[00:28:02] Brandon Stover: Yeah. What I love about this as approaches, I think as educators, our job is not to deliver information, but rather like cure rate information because when we get into the real world and we come across the problem, our job as the person is going to be able to go find a solution and we have to be able to learn from different things and be able to find that information on our own rather than having, you know, force fed to us.

And so in this. You know, you're curating information that you think will help them. And then they kind of get to decide from that they may use one resource didn't really help them learn much. So they try a different one out and this one helped them learn much better and they start to build that muscle for themselves.

[00:28:37] Victoria Ransom: Right. And the other thing that's beautiful about curating, and we do do a lot of curating is then you can cherry pick from the best resources that are out there. And so that, you know, the best adaptive math apps and for one kid, it may be different than another kid or the best videos that are out there on a particular topic or the best podcasts.

Writing all your own curriculum, because the best resources are already there. You've just got to help bring them together and give kids access to them in many cases. So, yeah, but we do put a lot of focus at Prisma on research, kids, knowing where to find good sources of information. How do you evaluate what is a good resource and a good source of EMF nation?

We definitely have that philosophy that, that you just said of, of to teach a kid to fish, right? Like teach them where they can find the information and then they can go out and learn anything. They like.

[00:29:29] Brandon Stover: Absolutely. One of the things that you were mentioned was these five weeks cycles, and I'm curious why five weeks and then how do you decide which themes to be moving onto next?

[00:29:38] Victoria Ransom: You know, there is some research out there that suggests that five or six weeks is a really good length of time, long enough for kids to sort of really dig into a topic. But not so long that they're, you know, start to lose interest in that topic. That is one reason. The other reason is sort of the length of the year and trying to, we also have a a service learning cycle at Prisma that we it's three weeks that we fit in.

So between that and trying to cover we, we ended up with six cycles, which felt like a really good number in a year so that we could, you know, some of the cycles are more Damn focus. Some of them are more humanities focused and we sort of between the desire to cover a range of topics and a range of disciplines and the length of the year.

And what is an ideal length of a cycle? We came up with five weeks, I think six weeks would have also been a good length topics or themes we come out with in a variety of ways. We do poll the kids to see what they're really interested in. Because behind these themes is a lot of really careful thought about what the kids are going to actually be focusing on what are the outcomes of that cycle.

So it may be that it's very sort of collaboration focused, or another theme may be very communication focused. It may be that it's a sort of more stem focused and we had these particular stem outcomes. We really want kids to Shave or we have, you know, we really want kids to be exposed, to learning more about governance systems.

And so that's what this particular theme will focus on. But based on sort of the outcomes we have for the year, then there's a number of different themes we could choose. And the curriculum team will sort of lay out a number of different themes that might really meet sort of the goals of the year and then kids get to choose between them.

So we pull the kids to see what they're most interested in. And then obviously the themes themselves, we're not, we're picking them on the basis of, we think kids will find this really interesting, really meaningful, really relevant to their lives. So sort of that combination is how we come up with the things.

[00:31:43] Brandon Stover: Okay, excellent. In the discussion about your guys's project based approach moving them, I think it's great. Moving them through a research and then experimentation creation and then presentation and it all culminating in what you called the expo day. And so I was hoping you would explain, you know, what the expo day is and how it encourages and celebrates the student to, have them really enjoy learning and further that intrinsic motivation.

[00:32:09] Victoria Ransom: So X by day it happens, you know, at the end of every cycle, we get a wonderful turnout of families. You know, I, I think everybody shows up that that's always there's at least someone there for every kid to watch what they've done. And every learner gets a chance to present what they've done and not just sort of here's my project.

Here's what I did. But we asked the kids to reflect what, what did you really learn from this? What did you find was the hottest you know, sometimes we ask kids to sort of show the iteration. Like this was V1, this was V2 because we believe a lot at Prisma in this idea of iteration and sort of constantly going back and refining.

And so you know, there's prior to expo day, the kids have practice days with their coach and other learners where they give feedback and really refine their presentation. And it is both a chance for kids to showcase their work. And frankly, it gives them that extra little layer of motivation of, you know, I'm going to be presenting this.

So I want to do my best, and that is quite effective. I would say. It is a chance to celebrate. So we make it very, very positive, you know, it's, it's all about Giving, you should see the chat during a expo day. It's just blowing up from other, from adults in the room, but especially from kids where to go, and this is amazing, but it's also a very constant practice for kids to present in front of an audience, which for some kids is really scary at the beginning.

And so we ease kids into it and some learners will choose to pre-record their expo day presentation. Times until they get comfortable with, with going live. But they all learned to do it over time and they all get better and better, and we will have different sort of goals at each expo day in terms of the presentation skills of kids as well.

So at the beginning, kids all have sort of word for word scripts that they're reading off. And over time we, we get them to get comfortable with the idea of not having to write a script and being a little more natural and in their presentation style. So yeah, exposure day has just been a great celebration of the effort that the kids are putting in a great mechanism to get kids to go that extra mile and a really great way to get kids comfortable with presenting in front of a group.

[00:34:23] Brandon Stover: Yeah. What an excellent skill to be learning, especially in this age, as much as we do give presentations, now that we're able all to do it virtually.

[00:34:31] Victoria Ransom: Yeah, because turns out road doing a lot of virtual work nowadays, so Prisma kids are very comfortable with it.

[00:34:37] Brandon Stover: Speaking of the motivators, you guys give kids badges rather than grades Prisma, how has the students reacted to this? How has the parents, and then if students are going on to other schools, how have they seen it rather than seeing like a transcript of.

[00:34:55] Victoria Ransom: so a badge is really just a body of work that you will get. If you meet the requirements or meet what's expected of that. So it's, it's not sort of any kind of reward system it's really just, you know, you did a fantastic job with your cities of the future project.

You have got your cities of the future badge. And you know, we've had very little concern from parents about why is my kid not getting a grade? And I think it's because they can see that we really are, there are still high expectations for kids. It's just that it's being delivered in a different way, which is this iterative feedback process that, that I mentioned where you know, no kid has just sort of half doing a project and then getting their badge.

We're getting feedback from their coach and they have to go back and iterate and revise and and really. You know, we really do lay out there certain where the prisoner project there's steps along the way where a coach and a learner can see, this is what you should have achieved thus far in the project.

Have you done that? Did you really nail sort of all the expectations, if not go back and do it. And so if anything, I think it puts higher expectations on kids than grades do.

[00:36:13] Brandon Stover: With them kind of reflecting on it as they go.

[00:36:16] Victoria Ransom: Yeah, exactly. They have to reflect exactly. Thus far. I mean, we're still very new. We've only. I had a fairly small number of kids that have gone on to high school.

But we've had, you know, there was no issue with kids not having letter grades on their transcript. I mean, we put together sort of a portfolio-based transcript that actually is very rich with information about that learner. It ranges from, you know, we, we do this nationally recognized assessments.

So we have data that sort of nationally norms that we can put on a kid's transcripts. We have, we're able to can sort of convert all the workshops and the meshes and the projects that kids do into what looked like recognizable bodies of work or classes that kids have done. So that's easily recognized by schools.

We're able to, our coaches write very rich assessments of the kids written sort of narrative assessments of the kids, every trimester, which we can provide on the kids' transcripts. So I think if. Thing, you know, we provide much more information about kids than a typical transcript. And we have had a couple of Prisma lonas that have gone on to highly selective private schools and they were accepted.

And the information we were able to provide about them was more than enough for them to get accepted. So yeah, it hasn't, hasn't been a constraint for us.

[00:37:36] Brandon Stover: very nice. Speaking to the community aspect and community is something very hard to foster online and many of the online schools, whether they're K through 12 or higher education link, have not been able to do it very well. What are some of the things that you guys do to foster community? You were mentioning the stand-ups before and like group activities.

What, what do those things look like?

[00:37:55] Victoria Ransom: you know, the funny thing is I would say going into prisoner, it was one of the things we worried most about. Can kids make friends in a virtual environment and already within our, you know, day three of our of our kickoff week when we started Prisma, we were already like, you know, I don't think we needed to worry too much about that.

Like we were hearing from parents and from kids that they were making friends and they really felt super excited to be a part of the community and, and we've surveyed kids. And the hundred was in a Prisma kids have said that they have friends at Prisma. They feel a part of a strong community. How have we done that?

I think it is through the smaller groupings of kids and the ability for them to really interact a lot when they are together. And that's synchronously and asynchronously. I mean, we have a, a community chat community. We use slack actually with the kids and they're chatting back and forth all day long.

And you know, that that's interaction that's interacting too. But whether it's the stand-ups, that is the same grouping of kids meeting on a very regular basis in ways where they can really share with one another, whether it's the workshops that are also you know, small numbers of kids where they really do.

Dissipate. And they're frequently broken down into even smaller groups where there, you know, groups of three or four or two or three kids working together to solve something. The clubs are, you know, really engaging and kids are really participating well in clubs, collaborating on projects is something that kids do.

It's the opportunities that we give kids to really get to know one another in small groupings. And they're all part of this cohort of kids. That's not very large. I mean, a Prisma cohort is 80 kids and. you're getting to know those kids in different ways.

You have certain kids in your math group that you're getting to know. You have certain kids and your book club that you're getting to know. Just creates a really easy, natural way for kids to make friendships. And you know, we had, we had our first summer break for Prisma cause w when you enough that we've only gone through one summer break and it was just amazing to hear from parents like, oh my, my, my kid is hanging out with Prisma kids all throughout the summer.

They were jumping online to chat by zoom, or they were playing games together or whatever it was, they kept up those contexts, which was really nice to hear.

[00:40:16] Brandon Stover: Yeah. That's awesome that it's continuing to transfer I seen on your guys's website Prisma live. And how does that help with the synchronous part of learning a Prisma?

[00:40:25] Victoria Ransom: Right. Yeah. So we've built out our own live learning platform. So basically a zoom replacement that's really been built with a sort of full through eighth grade is in mind and, and really being built in mind with the idea of creating a very collaborative, engaging, live learning experience. So we've just built you know, a number of features into Prisma live that either make it much easier for a coach to provide a really engaging experience or that make it much more fun and social for kids.

So for example And there's a lot of research that shows that part of the fatigue that comes from zoom meetings or video meetings is just that you're sort of steering at the same face for a long time. And usually when you're in a room, you're sort of looking around the room and you get. So and you know, there's a lot of research that shows the more you can kind of vary what people are seeing during a live video experience, the more engaging it is, but also the less exhausting it is.

And so we prisoner workshop is actually sort of quite a carefully curated experience where it might start off with some. Background information that's presented in a really visually pleasing way. And then there might be some kind of poll or something that gets the kids or to sort of give their initial thoughts.

And, and then there might be some kind of breakout activity and so on and so forth. And so in zoom, you've got coaches that are trying to manage a whole bunch of tabs, and I've got this YouTube video here I need to play. And then I have this document that the kids are going to be collaborating in.

I need to try to look across. And so we've basically set it up. So in prisoner live, the curriculum team can put in different chapters and it just seamlessly moves through as the coach sort of okay. Click to the next chapter in this workshop, click to the next chapter so that they can focus on what's happening with the kids instead of focusing on sort of managing everything breakout rooms are really important part of online learning and making sure that.

It's a really participating. And so with something like zoom, you've got a coach that just has to sort of jump from room to room interrupt. What's going on. Try to get a read of what's going on. Does this group need help? Do they not need help with Prisma live? The coach can actually stay in the main room and the kids know that this is happening, listening to what's happening and all the different rooms and be able to just get a sense like, oh, there's very little conversation happening in this room.

Let me jump in and see what's going on. Or there's very animated conversation happening in this room. Let me just check that all as well. So it just enables the coaches to be much more effective and when they're giving help for the kids. You know, we've we've just made it possible for kids to really personalize their space and their avatar.

We really things like emojis, you know, Prisma one of the downsides of Prisma expo day is the kids are, are it's beautiful presentations, but you can't do sort of applause or you know, make a big deal in the same way you can in a real space. And so we've created sort of these like emoji explosions.

So you can really show your love and show your excitement about what someone is doing. So just the little touches that make it really fun for kids you know, ability for coaches to be able to very easily tell who hasn't spoken for a while, or who's dominating the room and I need to make sure someone else gets heard.

Those sorts of things is what we've built into Prisma live.

[00:44:02] Brandon Stover: This is something amazing that I see a huge advantage for online schools, because they are able to create these seamless experiences. You know, you're talking about all these different pieces of information or activities that you're pulling in, and it's a seamless experience for the learners, where if you try and do that, you know, in a physical classroom, you're trying to pull all these chairs together or you gotta run and go get this thing from a different room or whatever.

It's a huge advantage for online schools, I think,

[00:44:30] Victoria Ransom: Yeah. I totally agree with you. It's a bit, what we talking about before that the best content is already out there. You need to pull it together, but trying to do that in a classroom, like here's this amazing two minute YouTube video about this topic. And here's, you know, we have things like peer deck. We use a lot where the kids can collaborate.

They can write down their thoughts and then go and read what everybody else has written and write down their comments. I mean, doing that in a regular classroom means. Post-it notes everywhere, and it's going to take five times longer. And trying to play a couple of YouTube videos in a regular classroom is going to just like disrupt everything probably and take a long time.

And therefore you're left with the teacher having to explain something to you and the odds that that teacher is the most engaging person to pass on this information to you is slim. It's unlikely that they are the most engaging person in the world for passing on that information. So, yeah, I agree.

There's there's constraints in a physical classroom that you don't have virtually.

[00:45:32] Brandon Stover: well, in another interview, I heard you mentioned that students going through Prisma had grown 175% in their literacy rates and 150% in math and gigging double-check beyond those numbers. What are the other results or outcomes that you've seen with Prisma that speak to its effectiveness?

[00:45:48] Victoria Ransom: Great question. Yeah, because we care just as much that kids are developing their communication skills, their critical thinking skills their, what we call designer's mindset is something we focus on a lot at Prisma. We care as much about that is what their academic growth is. If, if not more, frankly because we really think when you get into the real world, those are the things that make the difference between you really thriving and having a lot of options in your career and not they are harder to measure though.

I think that that is. One of the reasons why schools ended up focusing so much on just sort of standardized testing, because it's something that's measurable. I'm not sure how much it tells you really, but it looks like it tells you something. Right. So we have through surveying of parents sort of.

Kid comes in and in the middle of the year, and at the end of the year, how do you think your child's collaboration skills have developed their critical thinking skills, their ethical decision-making their sort of design design is mindset. That is one major. It's not perfect, but we've, we had a hundred percent of parents saying that they'd seen significant growth from their kids across those sort of key outcomes that we look for in Prisma with problem solving and collaboration and communication and designer's mindset and follow through is another thing that we really focus a lot on sort of your ability to be independent and follow through on something.

So based on parent's perceptions kids, Growing a lot in all of those areas, we also ask coaches to sort of assess kids, the mentor coach of kids. How do they think they've grown and coaches across the board saw growth in all of those areas? I think it's an area where we want to get better and better at how do we, how do we truly assess that kids are developing those areas?

And I think we've, we've got some ideas sort of where you can have really carefully created projects that would really, that a kid could do maybe at the beginning of the year and the end of the year, that would really be able to show the difference between how their, their skills have developed.

But that is something we look at and really excited to see the growth that at least coaches and parents are perceiving in case. Another thing that's really important to us is this love of learning. Like sort of first and foremost, we want kids to be really excited about learning about Prisma.

We want them to love prisoner and love showing up each day. And so we do survey the kids. We serve the kids a lot and we serve my parents a lot, actually like they're our customers. So we need to know what they think and we need to react to what they think. And so one of the questions we ask is how happy are you at Prisma relative to your previous school?

Whatever that was. And a hundred percent of Prisma kids have said they're happier at Prisma than they are in their previous school. So that is something that we really measure and track. So yeah, I think love of learning. Academic growth as measured by the math and literacy stents that you just mentioned, which were very close and sort of this perceived growth across these holistic skills are some of the things that we're really focusing on measuring

[00:48:51] Brandon Stover: Amazing. Yeah. I was thinking you know, to the project to assess, you know, how did they grow over that time period? I think too, like in startups, when you're being hired as a software developer or something, they have those technical tests right before you go to get hired for the thing and something around that, you know, being able to showcase a skill, how it's grown is something that I think might work there.

[00:49:15] Victoria Ransom: Yeah. And there's different. They're on different sort of little quiet, easy assessments around creativity and how creativity is growing. So I think it is something we want to refine over time, because it is so important that we, that we focus on this holistic development and not get really hung up on sort of academic growth, because that's really just one thing that's important about school.

[00:49:42] Brandon Stover: Right. Speaking of, you know, iterating and changing things, you guys worked very much with a startup mentality and one of your values as iterating on that and changing what you're doing to not rest on your laurels, get stuck in your ways much like the traditional education system has done. How has your model changed from your original assumptions?

And what hasn't worked as you've gone through.

[00:50:04] Victoria Ransom: and we've definitely made a number of changes. So one of the biggest ones I'd say is that we didn't start out with this idea of themes. We, we started out we've so we always have the idea of making, learning relevant and tying it to the real world and giving kids choice. But the first iteration of Prisma basically had a bunch of different project options.

And in a given trimester that you might choose one science focused project and one sort of more humanities focused project or history focus. And then the next trimester, it might be not history, but it's actually focused on some other area. And there's a bunch of projects that you could choose from in there.

So it really honored choice and kids really did. They were excited about what they were doing and the projects were very hands-on. Found that there wasn't enough unification among what the kids were doing. This one was off doing that and that one was off doing that. And just that there's so much learning that comes from kids sharing with each other, what they are working on, giving feedback, collaborating, we found something was missing there.

And so the idea of. Themes and still giving kids a lot of choice within the theme, but that they were all, both the workshops. I hadn't really, I haven't really talked about that, but the workshops are also tied to the theme. That was a change we made that has felt really successful and was a really good change.

You know, we've, we've definitely played with different approaches of how particularly, I think how we do math at prisoner is something that we've evolved over time. If I'm perfectly honest, I think the first iteration of math at Prisma was very. Client on Khan academy, which is not uncommon for innovative scoring models actually.

It's, you know, if you scratch beneath the surface, there's a lot of schools just relying on, okay. Go and do Khan academy to really evolving from there. We are, you know, because adaptive apps, whether it's kind academy or others, they're actually really amazing because you can truly go at the pace of a learner and, you know, if they're truly adaptive and if a kid gets something right, then they get a, how to program.

If they get it wrong, then it gets easier. So they, we, you know, they very much have their place at Prisma, but what you don't see when kids are working on apps like that is how did they arrive at their answer? Are they really, truly understanding that what was the working behind it? And so we've developed what we call math missions, which are a mix of some adaptive app work and kids can choose based on what seems to work best for them.

It's not Khan academies, just one option. But also sort of carefully designed problems that, that our curriculum team has designed where we ask kids to actually provide they're working in their thinking so we can make sure, okay, they got this result when they're working through the app, but then where they really getting it, how are they arriving at their answers?

And then this building in of sort of, okay, now that you've sort of been learned, learned about algebraic thinking, here's some real problems that we want you to try solving using what you've learned. So this sort of mix of adaptive apps, which have their place in a really effective this like carefully create a problems to make sure that kids really understand it, what they're doing and then applying it to the real world.

So that is how math has evolved at Prisma. And I think it will continue to evolve, but it's certainly a big step up from where we were at. Yeah. I mean, basically every six weeks we survey the kids and based on what we see, we, we learn and we make some tweaks to what we're doing, either big changes or smaller changes, but we're definitely constantly evolving.

[00:53:40] Brandon Stover: I love that. Well, I'd like to dive a little bit into your backstory, so. You've had a very successful career in startups. your previous company, wildfire grew to profitability and just a year had 400 employees and then was acquired by Google for 450 million. And then you started having children and your worldview started changing.

How did these two worlds collide that would lead you to building Prisma?

[00:54:04] Victoria Ransom: So when, we sold wildfire to Google and when we left Google, we told us, I was, when I say we it's my husband and I we've actually run a number of companies together. We taught ourselves whatever we do next. We want it to be something that could have a large, positive impact on the world.

We were really ready to be very mission driven and mission focused. And actually, you know, that led to a couple of years of, of kind of spinning our wheels. Because once you decide, you want to really contribute to the world's problems, all you see. Big problems. And it's really hard to know what to focus on.

It's like, well, we can focus on that. Oh, but there's this other problem. And will we have enough impact? And so the education, I think we're always interested in education, but hadn't really narrowed down to say, we want to focus on education. As I mentioned earlier, it really came from our own kids that as our oldest started to approach school age that led us to really question how we wanted to educate her, which got us really interested in education.

And once we'd done all of that research and sort of crystallize this view of what we thought was a great way to educate kids, it felt like a waste to just do that for our own kids. And so then we got really excited about the idea of could, could we deliver a more innovative approach of education to larger number of kids than is currently being done through sort of private.

Oh, bricks and mortar schools. So yeah, that, that's how that came about. And you know, the, the focus on really diving deep into our own kids' education was partly selfish to be perfectly honest, that we had created these very flexible life for ourselves. We said, if we sat another company, it will be fully virtual.

Like we want it to be virtual long before COVID came along. Now it's trendy. And you know, with young kids, we were able to I'm from New Zealand, my husband's from Switzerland. We're able to spend time in our respective countries and that's important for us with our kids. And then we realized, wait, when the oldest goes to school, that flexibility will be gone.

So at a selfish level, we were interested in, are there more flexible schooling models out there, which is sort of what first got us looking at homeschooling we sat as currently loved a lot of what we saw with homeschooling, because it is truly focused on the interest of the child, the speed of learning of the child.

A lot of homeschool families do a wonderful job of tying learning to sort of the real world and the community. And so there's a lot to be inspired by with the way some families homeschool. But yeah, it was partly sort of this, is there a more flexible way to school. And then, like I said where we live in the bay area, there's just a lot of pressure put on kids.

And as a result, they're, especially in teenagers, there's a lot of anxiety and depression and they're kids that on paper look so successful, but inside they're doubting themselves or they're feeling lost or they, you know, that sort of intrinsic motivation was lost a long time ago. And so we were concerned about that and that was part of the search for looking.

Different approach to educate our kids.

[00:57:07] Brandon Stover: for our listeners that are sitting in a similar boat, trying to, you know, struggling with deciding how they want to have an impact on the world. What do those conversations look like for you guys, as you were going through those couple of years of taking a break?

[00:57:20] Victoria Ransom: Well, it was a lot of sort of reading about I'm. Emily had some sense for us. We, we pretty quickly narrowed down to education house and the environment as sort of areas that we're most passionate about. And within that you know, we just did a lot of reading about those topics and you know, that often led to reaching out to people to have conversations about those topics.

So it was for us, it was a lot of reading and learning and we cycled through, I mean, I make it sound like we said, Spinning our wheels. And then there was Prisma. We actually got really excited about something in the health space for a while and we prototyped and we worked on it and then decided, you know, we're not quite sure if this is as good an idea as we thought it was going to be.

And there was a couple of sort of attempts like that. But yeah learning, iterating, Ida rating we also gave ourselves a bit of a break. First year out of wildfire out of Google was know it's, we've owned a break. So we weren't sort of heads down focusing on a whole lot actually, which was nice.

[00:58:26] Brandon Stover: Yeah. Speaking of doing tests and validating, was there anything you did for a test or MVP to validate the model of Prisma before doing your first full program?

[00:58:37] Victoria Ransom: Well, the, the good answer would be yes, of course. The true answer is no we didn't. And that is because. Sort of after two years of research and education, sort of being really excited about this model that was forming in our heads and how could we deliver it to large numbers of kids? COVID came along and sort of kicked us in the bat and see it.

Okay. Enough thinking about this, if there was ever a time to try an innovative approach to education that happens to. Home-based virtual it's now. And so after sort of a long lead in time of research and thinking, we had a pretty short execution time between match 20, 20 and the beginning of September, 2020, we decided we're going to launch our pilot year and we're going to recruit our first 30 or so families.

And yeah, that was the pilot. I mean, and the families knew that th the families we recruited you, that this is a test. If this doesn't go well, we will shut it down at the end of the year. And they were all, I think, willing to it, particularly because of COVID they were willing to give that a shot. And so that was our pilot, but it was a very real pilot because it had real kids in it.

Fortunately it worked out.

[00:59:58] Brandon Stover: This isn't the first time though that you guys have launched during like a major thing wildfire launched in 2008, which you know, is coming after the crash. So could you speak a little bit to how it was a good time to launch? No. In both of those events, that was a positive thing during when times are crazy and down,

[01:00:16] Victoria Ransom: Yeah. Yeah. We just seem to have a habit of launching things when others would probably say run for jobs security. Yeah. I mean, look in both cases. We we launched because we identified some kind of wave that was happening or some kind of shift in the case of wildfire. It was the early days of social media marketing.

And we felt like that was going to be something that would be big. And so we pursued that space and in the case of Prisma, we believe we believed and believe that a shift would take place in education. There was sort of like a shock to the system that was going to create a change in sort of cause more families to consider alternative methods of education than had done before.

But I think there are benefits to launching a startup during our recession. One of those. This is not the case. Now, now there's a labor crunch, but usually during a recession, there's a availability of labor that I think can be a real advantage. The other thing that is also not true right now, but it was true in 2008, was that funding was not as readily available, which I think creates more disciplined startups.

It also means you have a little more time to kind of figure out your model and get it off the ground because you're not sort of facing, you know, 50 competitors that are raising money. And millions of dollars. I mean, we did eventually face it didn't take too long, but you know, that you actually look at many of the best startups and they were founded during a recession.

And I think part of it is there's more availability of talent and, you know, the talent of your early team is crucial to your ultimate success. And there's more sort of discipline around finances. Cause it's not as easy to just go out and raise money with, you know, a paper napkin and some idea written on it.

So yeah, it was, we didn't deliberately stop businesses during a recession, but I think there's benefits to doing so.

[01:02:17] Brandon Stover: not being teachers or school leaders or anything like that before. How did you find education experts for your team to help fill those knowledge gaps when starting Prisma?

[01:02:27] Victoria Ransom: Yeah. And that's been critical. I mean, oh, Prisma the curriculum team and the coaches that we hired are absolutely critical to. Oh today and we wouldn't be what we had to without finding that those people we put out job posts. I mean, we, we created job descriptions. We put them out to our network and then we posted online.

And we were really lucky to have a great deal of choice when our first job postings that we put out for Prisma coaches, we got 1400 applicants so wonderful talent pool. And, you know, that's one of the things that I've learned through digging more into education. The education field is full of super talented, super passionate people.

Sometimes they're banging their heads against a brick wall, but there no shortage of talent in the education field. And you know, we tried. Hire a really diverse team of some team members that had really deep experience in sort of more traditional education. And one of our early team members had founded her own charter school at a pretty young age and just had really deep experience.

And then others that had very alternative sort of their path into education had been through really alternative methods of education and, and everything in between. And that mixture I think is, has been really helpful at Prisma.

[01:03:48] Brandon Stover: well, before I get to my last question, is there a call to action? You'd like to leave our listeners with today.

[01:03:52] Victoria Ransom: Yeah, I mean, if anything I've said sounds interesting either because you're a parent or you're an educator please go to our website. That is the best place to learn about Prisma it's join prisma.com. Join prisma.com. We have a ton of information there and you can sign up for an info session if you really want to learn more about Prisma.

But yeah, please, and please reach out if, if what if, what we're doing sounds interesting to you.

[01:04:16] Brandon Stover: Awesome. We'll we'll put links for that in the show notes. My final question is how can we push the world to evolve?

[01:04:22] Victoria Ransom: That's, that's a big one and I, if I really truly knew, then I'd be a very important person, but no, I, I have some ideas, obviously. It's no surprise that I would say education as well. The key ways to get the world to evolve. But what I would say there is educating youth is, is critical, but we've passed the point where we can keep pushing the problems of the world onto the next generation.

Like, I feel like there's so often this idea of like, we need to educate the next generation so they can solve the world's problems. Now we have problems now that this generation, my generation needs to solve. And so I think education of adults is a really important area. It's not what prisoners focusing on, but reeducating adults for, to cope with the changing jobs, land landscape educating people to be more informed Jim has of information feels like a really essential need right now.

It just feels like there's so many people putting a lot of energy into problems that are that are not real, that are based on conspiracies and this sort of thing. That's a real shame. So there's one thought I think education the other thought is, and I don't exactly know how to do this, but it feels really important.

It's just to change our definition of success for individuals, for companies, for countries you know, the broadening from this idea that a company is successful based on their profits and their stock price. We need to be in a world where companies are also evaluated on their impact on a community, their impact on the lives of their employees, their impact on the environment, around them, where we need nations to be viewed as successful, not just because of their GDP, but based on the.

Out of their country on the mental health of the people in their country, just feels like a lot of the problems in the world have, can be traced back to externalities that we've never factored in that we really in a sort of systemic level need to be factoring in. If we really are going to start to address some of the the problems that we're seeing.

So I would love to see that sort of shift and yet at a personal level that we, that we are not just looking at financial success is the metric for, for people's personal success in life, that their impact on their community their balance that they have in their life, that these are things that young people aspire to really have, not just sort of the material trimmings that come along with you know, salaries and high pay packages and things.

Because as we all know, that's not enough to have a meaningful.

[01:07:03] Brandon Stover: Absolutely. I think it takes us back to the beginning of the conversation. You know, not chasing grades, not chasing the high income or how much money can we make, but rather how much impact and you know, how much fulfillment do we feel in our own lives, personally.

[01:07:17] Victoria Ransom: exactly. Yep. Totally agree.

[01:07:19] Brandon Stover: Wonderful. Victoria, thank you so much for coming on today and sharing everything that you have about Prisma. I think you guys are doing amazing.

[01:07:25] Victoria Ransom: Thank you so much. Thanks for the opportunity.

[01:07:28] Brandon Stover: Thank you for listening to the evolve. Podcasts links to everything we discussed today are available in the show. Notes. Transcripts are also available in the show notes and everything can be viewed on our website at evolve. The doc world that's evolve the.world.

My one ask for you is to share this episode with others. If you know someone who is interested in social impact, social entrepreneurship, or just making a difference in the world, please share this episode. The challenges in our world need all of those who can contribute to existing solutions or create entirely new ones. so please share the show with those kind intelligent people who are just like you until next time my friend keep evolving.

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