Each student has an individualized Learning Plan, which is a description of all the unique work and learning a student has planned for the quarter. The Learning Plan is focused around each student’s interests and passions, as well as grade level expectations. No two students will have the same Learning Plan. Most of the Learning Plan will revolve around the student’s internship and project work. Work that is completed in advisory should also be included in the Learning Plan.
Everyone has different interests, needs and learning styles. Each student needs his or her own Learning Plan tailored to his or her own passions, goals and gaps. In addition, every student has a Learning Plan team. This team is made up of the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), advisor and mentor, and is facilitated by the advisor. Parents, who know their child the best, play an integral role in shaping their child’s Learning Plan and educational process throughout the quarter. The student’s internship mentor, who knows the most about the student’s specific area of interest, helps the student crystallize his/her plan. All Big Picture students are expected to pursue rigorous academic topics in the core subjects; however, academics are embedded in activities, projects and themes that the student is passionate about. A student who is passionate about horses but dislikes math will still need to achieve mastery of Quantitative Reasoning and State mathematics standards. The goal is to link academic achievement as closely as possible to something that the student cares deeply about in the real world.
Every quarter, our students prepare an “exhibition” or public presentation related to their work plan and goals to be appreciated and critiqued by people whom they trust – their family members, their advisors, their internship mentors and their peers. Exhibitions are one of the most important school events. This is the time for students to show off their best work and be held accountable to the academic work on their Learning Plans. Each student presents to a panel consisting of the advisor, parent, peers, outside adults and mentor (if possible). The student’s Learning Plan and grade-level expectations are used as the basis for assessing the work.