Expeditions are the core learning experience for students at Sora. These are so unlike traditional courses, that we had to give them a different name. Our unique learning model grants faculty and students the opportunity to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects that matter.
Student Choice and Autonomy
Students are meant to opt-in to the learning experiences and opportunities they find most interesting at any given time. To achieve this, students are presented with all of their academic data and a map of expectations on day one. Students use their own data and consult with their Advisor to make informed decisions about how to spend their time at Sora. Over time, students can shed structure as they progress and build autonomy.
Interdisciplinary Learning Experiences
Subjects shouldn’t be learned in isolation. Every learning experience at Sora is an opportunity for us to connect back to the real world, as well as to support different disciplinary approaches and paths of inquiry.
Students gain content knowledge and 21st century skills by working on authentic, engaging, and complex guiding questions, challenges, or real world problems, and reflecting on the experience. In this environment, we expect that students will have different outcomes and different graduating profiles based on their path and interests.
Assessment should never be a surprise; instead it should be an honest, equitable, and collaborative process between students and faculty. Assessment should also meet students where they are and appropriately challenge them to grow. Sora has a low floor and high ceiling for academic requirements. This allows us to focus on - and strike a balance between - both “what students know about” (core Content), and “what students can actually do” (Abilities) while they mold their own unique profile.
Wayfinding at Sora is a continuous process from a student’s first day to graduation. If students are externally motivated to learn when they arrive, their experience at Sora will help them shift toward finding their own internal motivation. As students progress through their Sora journey, they will explore (and sometimes fail) in different fields. They will also reflect at many points along the way to discern their next steps after graduation. As they go, students will develop professional skills and a portfolio of career-ready work.
Sora’s schools are purposefully kept small enough for students to have real relationships with their faculty, and large enough for them to find their place in their own community. These communities are student-governed, with a Senate and student House Leadership to ensure student voice is present in all aspects of the model. All classes are mixed-age to support further collaboration and peer learning.
21st Century Classroom
Sora’s model doesn’t support long lectures by faculty. Instead, we aim to leverage the top learning resources available whenever possible. Faculty are facilitators and ask questions alongside their students. Faculty also support navigating the nuance in every student’s path through their learning experiences. While faculty will generally - though not always! - have more experience in the areas under study, the focus in sessions will be on student engagement and discussion rather than faculty presentations or other one-way forms of communication. At Sora, we believe that education is an ongoing, collaborative process, and that true learning happens when students have the opportunity to create something that reflects not only their understanding of a topic, but also their curiosity, creativity, and emerging wisdom.