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Real World Learning

At Big Picture Philadelphia schools, we want students to find and walk their own pathway to success and that means giving students access to a wide range of opportunities with long-term impact.



How Real World Learning Works


Students focus on their passions

When students enter our signature RWL program, they are asked to explore the answer to the question: “Who am I in my community?” This approach helps young people connect their interests and passions to real world pursuits.

Learn professional competencies

They advance by successfully completing seven professional development benchmarks including writing a professional resume and cover letter, and participate in service-learning trips, informational interviews, and individual and group shadow days.

Go to internships every Tuesday and Thursday

Students then apply for either individual internships or internship cohorts which run for two full days per academic week for twelve weeks each term. Students work with a professional mentor and RWL Coordinator to develop an interest-based project proposal during the first half of the school year and execute the project during the second half. This year, students also have the opportunity to gain professional certifications through their internships in the areas of culinary arts, early childhood education, vet tech, pharmacy tech, or as an EKG tech.

Plan for the future

Progress is assessed through end-of-term exhibitions of learning, and, in the year leading up to graduation, students develop a detailed post-secondary plan that builds on the interests, skills, and certifications developed through their RWL experience. Our Post-Secondary and Alumni Counselors also help students fill out career or college applications, research employment opportunities, build their professional networks, and more to ensure they leave our schools on their personal pathway with the tools they need to succeed.


These are our current internship opportunities for our tenth graders this semester (Fall 2021).

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Get in Touch
If you're interested in learning more about how our Real World Learning program works or how to become a mentor, please contact our Real World Learning Director Tia Hall at