Philosophy

Re-imagining education

Big Picture Middle and High School emphasizes personalized and interest-based learning, in partnership with families and the community. Representatives from other districts and states visit our school as a model of the highly innovative Big Picture Learning style.

Big Picture students learn to think critically and demonstrate deep, engaged learning -- attributes colleges and employers are seeking.

Making learning relevant

As a school we are driven by a deeply held belief that connecting learning to students’ passions and to real-world experiences results in a truly meaningful academic journey that leads to success in college, career and life.

Rigorous learning connected to real-world and work experiences

In middle school, students get highly personalized instruction in small classes. Learning is hands-on and takes place both in the classroom and in the greater community. Math, science, and humanities, integrated with regular field trips, form the core of real-world learning.

In high school, students participate in internships and challenging projects focused on topics they are passionate about. Students develop the skills, habits and knowledge to succeed in higher education, overcome obstacles and contribute to their communities.
 
Students in each grade level stay together, reinforcing the importance of relationships.
 

A non-traditional learning model

All student work flows from an individualized learning plan based on high expectations, specific competencies and post-secondary goals. Students do not earn traditional grades and credits; they show mastery of Big Picture competencies through regular demonstrations of learning.

Big Picture Competencies

  • Social Reasoning – critical analysis, diverse perspectives, people, places, environment.
  • Personal Qualities – productive mindset, proactive learner, community engagement, project management.
  • Empirical Reasoning – fluency and research fundamentals; design and conduct scientific inquiry; investigate a field of science; and analyze scientific knowledge, theories, and research.
  • Communication – understanding, expression, research and inquiry, presentation and feedback, multimedia.
  • Quantitative Reasoning  – fluency and computation, logical reasoning, problem solving, modeling, analyzing data.

Big Picture by the Numbers

  • High school students completed more than 10,000 hours of internships.
  • Middle school students attended more than 40 field trips.
  • Partners include over 100 local businesses, non-profits and community organizations.
  • High school opened in 2005, middle school in 2011.
  • Teacher to student ratio — 1:17
  • Enrollment (May 2018) — 190