In 2014, Prism Education Center expanded to 9th grade. Prism will continue to expand each subsequent year by one grade until it represents a full PK to 12th grade school system. Both public and private schools in Arkansas have freedom to set the requirements for graduation at their schools. Prism Education Center is a value-based organization. Therefore all programs and guidelines must be driven by a well-defined philosophy instead of an arbitrary set of guidelines.
In keeping with Prism’s philosophy of education, students are expected to achieve excellence in their academic pursuits. However, Prism’s primary concern is human development, and as such, academic mastery serves as only a subset of the development that we anticipate will occur at Prism. A diploma from Prism Education Center must represent more than only a minimal standard of academic proficiency, but also signify that the student is prepared for adulthood and has been trained in and has mastered the values and skills necessary to begin adult life as a productive and contributing member of society.
With these goals in mind, the graduation requirements for Prism Education Center have been developed and are outlined below.
High School Requirements
There are seven (7) primary accomplishments that must occur in order for a student to graduate from Prism Education Center. These 7 tools are enveloped by an ability to communicate. Communication skills, among other things, will be measured within each of these accomplishments and will be a factor in determining whether a student has met the requirements of each section. The respective weight of each section is listed below along with its general description.
Each of the seven categories of Prism Education Center’s graduation requirements are weighed differently. The breakdown of points can be seen below. In order to graduate from Prism Education Center, a student must achieve a minimum of 7.5 out of 10 points.
Mensa 2.0 Points
Prism Education Center will use the Arkansas Smart Core Curriculum Requirements as the baseline for curricular achievements. This typically accounts for 100% of a school's graduation requirements. These standards account for 20% of Prism's standards for graduation.
Impact 1.5 Points
Impact measures both the student's ability to serve as a leader and standard-bearer as well as their general ability to relate to their peers and effectively carry their peers.
Ascent 1.0 Point
Physical fitness must be demonstrated each of the 4 years. Students participate in physical activity for up to 20 minutes, 3 times per week. This will be monitored with a fitness app.
Serve 1.5 Points
Students must demonstrate a commitment to service by completing 500 hours of service within a four-year period (ideally 9th through 12th grade). Prism will provide avenues for this service to be fulfilled, but students may also be required to serve outside of school hours to fulfill this requirement.
Journey 1.0 Point
Students must demonstrate engagement in the community outside of Prism. Examples of community engagement may include student memberships in state or national organizations, church organizations, volunteerism outside of Prism, or engagement with a business such as an apprenticeship.
Refraction 1.0 Point
Students must complete a creative project before graduation. The goal of this project is to engage students in the creative process, not necessarily those areas that are typically associated with the arts. Examples of creative projects include: a visual art masterpiece, a technical tool or app that benefits others, a musical composition, poetry or a short novel.
Confluence 2.0 Points
By the 10th grade, each student is required to bring a proposal to the High School Board of Teachers about a long-term project that they will complete by senior year. Students will be encouraged to start this project in their 9th grade year, as there may be cause to change their project design or other anticipated issues. The goal of the project is that the students would learn how to make long-term commitment to a very difficult goal and achieve it. Examples would be learning a Level 6 song on the piano, running a marathon, hiking a high level trail independently, developing a complex computer program, developing and implementing a small business plan. Teachers will provide assistance and support to the student in a manner that is similar to a thesis advisory committee. The project can be morphed to accommodate the individual interests of the students.