Isabella loves to learn, especially at her own pace with subjects of her choosing. Her intellectual curiosity and confidence fostered a spirited approach to her own education. She is bubbly, energetic and is always working on several projects and skills at a time. She found that school bored her, especially in one of her favorite subjects, math. She was also uninspired by the prescribed way in which the classes were taught, and the increasing focus on standardized testing and teaching. Isabella learns for fun; she needs no external motivators.
At PLC, she took the reins right away and starting pouring herself into math and several other subjects of interest, such as American Sign Language, film-making, and photography. Without mandatory homework and attendance, Isabella was able to take ownership of her time again. Through online self-study and one-on-one tutoring, she progressed through geometry and algebra II when she was barely 14. Additionally, she started taking many more circus classes, yet another one of her passions. Her hooping, lyra, and unicycle skills are very impressive. She is one of the most advanced performers at her circus school and frequently puts on solo acts. She has also written for an online circus blog and been asked to sponsor a renowned hoola hoop company.
Isabella’s experience at PLC offered the environment and support she needed to really hit the ground running as a self-directed learner. As her skills and interests matured, she started taking community college classes as a 14 year old. She did very well with her first class, precalculus, and the professor quite enjoyed having her in class. In addition, Isabella applied to a new film program at her county’s vocational school. Not only was she accepted, but the teacher asked to use her portfolio as an example for the class. In the subsequent years, Isabella continued with her studies at community college, studying in a full-range of areas, including many math, science and engineering classes.
In spring 2019, at 17 years old, Isabella applied to a number of engineering schools. She is now attending Rowan University, studying electrical engineering.
A video showing Isabella’s hooping skill:
A note from Maria, Isabella’s mom, at the end of the 2015-16 year—Isabella is 14 and has been with PLC for a year and a half:
After thinking long and hard about next year, we have all—Isabella, Eric, and I—decided that Isabella will not return to PLC next year. She is very excited to try the filmmaking program at the VoTech and, as you may know, she just started her first college math class where she is having great success. Considering that she wants to keep taking college classes in combination with the VoTech program, getting out to Princeton for PLC becomes impossible.
It was a hard decision to make. PLC has been an amazing experience for our whole family. It offered a great community, a different way of thinking about education, and an awesome opportunity to live and explore. I fully believe that it is because of the independence Isabella found at PLC, she is fully ready to take on her own learning at the college level much sooner than we could have anticipated. She is also able to do math at a much higher level than we anticipated because PLC offered her the resources and the freedom to pursue math to the extent that she wanted. In addition PLC allowed her the freedom and flexibility to train to a very high level of circus performance. It has been a great gift to have had this time at PLC.
We are more confident sending Isabella on to new adventures, knowing that PLC exists; and that if the adventures don’t quite work as intended, there may again be a place for her in the PLC community. We hope that Isabella can keep her connection with PLC alive as she goes forward in the world. It is a special place, indeed.
Thank you for all your patience, encouragement, and support. See you at the end of the year festivities.