Pilina started with an observation and an idea. Born from the jarring educational shift to virtual learning in 2020, steep inequality in student learning outcomes showed that the traditional education system needed to be fixed. Students were disengaged with their learning: staring asynchronously at a screen is boring, they felt distant from their educational environment, and, most importantly, they didn't see the relevance between what was being taught in school and the huge societal problems happening in their community. At Pilina, I designed and implemented a new learning model that directly links education, industry, and community. We created pathways into different fields that students could explore.
Designing the program was just the start. After successfully raising over $600,000 of funding in January of 2022, we needed to deliver on our promises. I hired new industry professionals, teachers, and peer mentors, created an onboarding experience that gives everyone the building blocks to create engaging semester-long career-based learning courses, deployed our online learning software suite, designed and ran intensive training sessions, branded and launched our website, reached out to students, families, and educational leaders in the community, created a comprehensive evaluation and feedback system that included weekly exit tickets tied to key success metrics, quarterly focus group feedback sessions, passively collected engagement data, and pre/post surveys aligned with industry-standard educational metrics, and ran classes with students.