Project work is an important part of what we do at Big Picture. Students are expected to do projects within their academic workshops, arranged by workshop advisors. Scholars are also responsible for completing one project per trimester which will be presented at their exhibition.
Types of projects:
Students with internships will work with their advisor and mentor to develop and complete a project that benefits the organization or business and aligns with the scholar’s learning goals.
Students without an internship will work with their advisor to develop a project that is interesting to them. Projects may be based around researching an interest or passion, may serve the community, may involve building or creating something, etc. The advisor will help the scholar find a mentor who can give expert advice to guide the project toward success.
Real world learning
The most important element of the education at a Big Picture Learning school is that students learn in the real world. The main component of every student’s education is the LTI (Learning Through Internship/Interest). In this internship with an expert mentor in the field of the student’s interest, the student completes an authentic project that benefits both the student and the mentor at the internship site. The projects are connected to the student’s interests and meet the needs of the mentors, and are the main root to deepening student learning and academic growth.
Our Internship Program, or LTI (Learning Through Internship/Interests), is a key component to our students’s education. Projects are built around and for their LTIs. Each student, 9-12, is expected to actively pursue and participate in an LTI while enrolled at Big Picture High School. We have a school day during the week dedicated to our LTI program. This is where students go out into the community and work at their LTI sites. This helps our students gain real world knowledge and experience. We have a team of educators that are here to help each student succeed in their respective LTIs. Our Advisors and LTI coordinators work closely with students and their families to find the right fit for each individual.
There are three primary reasons for connecting real world, adult mentors to the schooling process:
1. Students learn how to be adults by being with adults
Teenagers are on the brink of adulthood, and we believe the best way for them to learn how to be an adult is by immersing themselves in the adult world. With mentoring, a young person steps into that adult world on a regular basis, and interacts with a variety of adults. Mentorship moves a young person beyond the familiarity of the adults in his or her personal life and provides a broader range of role models.
2. The expertise is out in the real world
Advisors know a great deal about human development and their own specialties. However, Big Picture Schools do not expect advisors to know about all the interests that their students may have. The expertise of a mentor in her/his field is valuable to both the student and the advisor. Mentors become living examples of the careers that students are thinking of pursuing.
3. The guidance is invaluable
he mentor-intern relationship is special for people of all ages. The guidance and direction that mentors give is personal, and based on the intern’s own particular needs, talents, and interests. There is a level of comfort in this kind of guidance that makes it possible to learn through both accomplishments and mistakes. For teenagers, it can be an especially important haven during the tumultuousness of adolescence.