Project-based learning (PBL) is built on the idea that there are better ways for some students to learn and grow. The focus of PBL is to help shape students into self-reliant learners with a mastery of 21st century skills. By helping our students learn how to learn and focus on what interests them, many of them are able to produce projects of quality above and beyond what is typically expected in a secondary school curriculum. We have found that the key to success isn't based on how much a student can memorize, but rather if they are able to set reasonable goals, create a plan to meet those goals, and then follow through on that plan. In a world where the jobs available post-graduation may not even exist today, this is an immensely valuable ability.
Students interested in starting at DREAM Technical Academy do not have to have experience with PBL. Each student is part of an advisory of 14-18 students that is guided by an advisor. The role of the advisor is to aid the students in the project learning process. By developing strong relationships with each individual student, the advisor is able to individualize this process. Instead of comparing the students to a number students are awarded credit (no grades!) based on their ability level, the quality of the project, and the amount of time spent on a project.