Big Picture Learning
Big Picture Learning's mission is the education of a nation, one scholar at a time. As a non-profit organization dedicated to a fundamental redesign of education in the United States, Big Picture Learning's (BPL) vision is to catalyze vital changes in education by generating and sustaining innovative and personalized learning environments that work in tandem with the real world of their greater community. At the core of Big Picture Learning's mission is a commitment to equity for all students and the expectation that these scholars can achieve success!
To learn more about Big Picture Learning, click here.
Distinguishers of BPL
Big Picture Learning schools often look dramatically different than one another as each serves its own population of learners. There are many elements within our learning design that are uncommon and distinct, which pull our network together and distinguish them from most other schools:
One scholar at a time - The entire learning experience is personalized to each scholar's interests, talents, and needs. Personalization expands beyond mere academic work and involves looking at each scholar holistically.
Advisory structure - Advisory is the core organizational and relational structure of a Big Picture Learning school, its heart and soul, often described as a "second family" by scholars. After their first introductory trimester, scholars stay with an advisor and group of fellow classmates for the rest of their high school careers, building close personal relationships that last a lifetime.
Learning through interests and internships (LTI) - Real world learning is best accomplished in the real world. Big Picture scholars intern once a week for an entire school day with experts in their field of interest, completing authentic projects, and gaining experience and exposure to how their interests intersect with the real world. To learn more about the process, click here.
Parent and family engagement - Parents/guardians are welcome and valued members of the school community and play a proactive role in their children's learning, collaborating in the planning and assessment of scholar work. They use their assets to support the work of the school, and often play an integral role in building relationships with potential LTI mentors.
School culture - In Big Picture schools, there is palpable trust, respect, and equality between and among scholars and adults. Scholars take leadership roles in the school, and teamwork defines the adult culture. Scholar voice is valued in the school decision making process and visitors are struck by the ease with which scholars interact with adults.
Authentic assessment - Scholars are assessed by public displays of learning that track growth and progress in the scholar's area of interest. Assessment criteria are individualized to the scholar and the real world standards of a project. Scholars present three exhibitions each year and discuss their learning growth with staff, families, peers, and mentors.
School organization - Schools are organized around a culture of collaboration and communication. They are not bound by the structures of buildings or calendars. There is an interdependence between school and community.
Leadership - Leadership is shared and spread between a strong, visionary principal; a dedicated and responsible team of advisors and staff; and scholars. The community functions as a democracy. A pervasive sense of shared ownership drives a positive culture dedicated to ongoing improvement.
Post-secondary planning - Scholars develop plans that contribute to their future successes- be it through college, trades, schools, travel, the military, or the workforce.
Professional development - Regular advisor PD is conducted at each school by principals and other staff, and BPL staff and coaches. A Big Picture School is a community of lifelong learners who embrace continuous improvement.