• Big Picture Learning is Learning for the Real World.

    Posted by Jarrod Taylor on 8/23/2018

    Sara Leonard presents a TED-Talk about her experience as principal at a Big Picture school in San Diego, CA. See the video here. Big Picture Learning is Learning for the Real World.

    Sara Leonard, Former Principal @ San Diego MET

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  • Big Picture Learning's 10 Distinguishers

    Posted by Jarrod Taylor on 8/7/2018

    Big Picture Learning schools exist throughout the country and the world. They are in rural environments and urban environments. They serve both large and small populations of students. Some Big Picture schools exist in gleaming new buildings, while some can be found in retrofitted structures which haven’t been in use for some time. In short, Big Picture schools (like the students they serve) often look dramatically different than one another. Each is its own unique environment where students can flourish as individuals within a community of learners. However, 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.

    Big Picture Junior, Tryston C. describes his experiences in Big Picture Learning and the ATC.

    ONE STUDENT AT A TIME - The entire learning experience is personalized to each student’s interests, talents and needs. 

    ADVISORY STRUCTURE -  Students stay with an advisor and a group of fellow classmates for four years, building close personal relationships that last a lifetime.

    LEARNING THROUGH INTERESTS AND INTERNSHIPS (LTIs) - Big Picture students intern with experts in their field of interest, completing authentic projects and gaining experience and exposure to how their interests intersect with the real world.

    PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT - Parents 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 student work. 

    SCHOOL CULTURE - Student voice is valued in the school decision making process and visitors are struck by the ease with which students interact with adults.

    AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT - Students present multiple exhibitions each year and discuss their learning growth with staff, parents, peers, and mentors.

    SCHOOL ORGANIZATION - Schools are organized around a culture of collaboration and communication. They are not bound by the structures of buildings, schedules, bells, or calendars. 

    LEADERSHIP - A pervasive sense of shared ownership drives a positive culture dedicated to ongoing improvement.

    POST-SECONDARY PLANNING - Students develop plans that contribute to their future success--be it through college, trades, schools, travel, the military, or the workforce.

    PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - A Big Picture School is a community of lifelong learners who embrace continuous improvement.

    Big Picture Learning's 10 Distinguishers align perfectly with our SCPS Profile of a Graduate, allowing us to better prepare wise students who master standards, lead by example, and embrace social responsibility.


    Shelby County Public School Profile of a Graduate

    To read more about our 10 Distinguishers, check out the Big Picture Learning website.

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  • About BPLA

    Posted by Jarrod Taylor on 2/3/2018

    At Shelby County Big Picture Learning Academy, we believe wholeheartedly in personalized education for each and every student. Learning in our school looks different, because it is different. We focus on each student's interests and do everything we can to make sure our kids have opportunities to learn from professionals in real-world environments while encouraging them to bring those hands-on learning experiences back into our classrooms. 

    Big Picture Learning Academy's personalized learning requires students to think outside of  the box. We expect our students to be driven, self-motivated, and independent. Our goal is to put students in the driver's seat, allowing them to be in charge of their own learning. Students coming to Big Picture will work one-on-one with an advisor to create an individualized student success plan. As advisors, we work with our students to make detailed plans for reaching their aspirations. Big Picture Learning Academy is for all students who are interested in doing school in a different way. Because we are a different type of school, students must be willing to take charge of their own learning. While our advisors are all certified teachers who are capable of delivering traditional instruction, we typically avoid it. We help our students understand what skills and competencies they are expected to master, and we ask them how they intend to demonstrate their mastery.

    In our classrooms, students connect their work to their passions and interests, so each student's work may be completely different from that of every other student in the class. We do still have some direct instruction, and some of our work certainly looks like traditional classroom learning, but we do our best to make it all personalized to each child.

    Because we want all of our students to get the most out of school, we do everything we can to support our students in pursuing their aspirations. That is especially evident in our flexible scheduling. Our school is housed in the JCTC building, and as a result, many of our juniors and seniors are able to easily take advantage of dual credit offerings. Those college classrooms are just down the hall. We also have students who are taking courses at Shelby County High School, Collins High School, and the Area Technology Center. We work with our students and parents to make sure that they have access to whatever courses they need to be successful. This year, many of our seniors will graduate with 12 college credit hours already completed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

    In addition to personalized learning and internships, and flexible scheduling, we also offer smaller class sizes. Our classes typically have 15 or fewer students. We do, on occasion, have larger classes, dependent on our students' scheduling needs. Our small class sizes allow our students and staff to build strong personal relationships, and advisors are able to work one-on-one with students when needed.

    Big Picture Learning Academy may be a relatively new school, but the model is not. Today, there are more than 65 Big Picture schools around the United States, and there are more outside of the country. Shelby County Big Picture Learning Academy is the first and only Big Picture School in the state of Kentucky. (www.bigpicturelearning.org)

    Big Picture Learning was established in 1995 with the sole mission of putting students directly at the center of their own learning. BPL co-founders Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor merged their thirty years of experience as teachers and principals and their distinct national reputations to launch this new innovation in education. With an intention to demonstrate that schooling and education can and should be radically changed, Big Picture Learning was born. (www.bigpicturelearning.org)

    Shelby County Big Picture Learning Academy places a strong emphasis on our district profile of a graduate, but we also focus on Big Picture Learning’s 5 learning goals and 10 distinguishers.

    If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to contact us at (502) 647-4677 or email our Associate Principal, Mrs. Michelle Shipley

    Our goal is to provide personalized learning for 21st century students through real-world relationships, relevance, and rigor. We hope you’ll consider this opportunity for your student to do school in a new way.



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