One Student at a Time – Personalization
Learning at a Big Picture Learning school is not constrained by the school day or to the school year – it is constrained only by our guiding principle that schools must be personalized, educating one student at a time.
The philosophy of educating one student at a time expands beyond “academic” work and involves looking at and working with each student holistically. Each student’s work is documented on an individual learning plan created and updated each quarter (or trimester) with the learning team (the student, parent(s), advisor, and whenever possible, internship mentor) in a learning plan meeting.
All the components that make up the student’s learning experience – the curriculum; the learning environment; the use of time during the school day; the choice of workshops or college classes; the focus and depth of investigation through the Big Picture learning goals – is developed based on the student’s individual interests, talents, and needs.
Personalizing education is about doing what’s best for kids – pushing and pulling at the right time, not dictating or punishing, but problem-solving and mediating. Overall, the school’s job is to know each student well and to provide the right measures of challenge and support for each student in order to promote growth. Students must also take responsibility for and ownership of their learning by pursuing their interests and passions deeply in the real world and at school. Students are encouraged to pursue their interests in-depth in order to grow personally and academically, and are given credit for learning experiences gained outside of the school day or the academic year.
Essential Elements of One Student at a Time – Personalization include:
- Individual learning plans created each quarter by the student’s learning plan team
- Strong parent/family engagement
- A learning plans that focuses on individual student’s interests, passions, talents, and needs
- Understanding and pursuit of the Big Picture Learning Goals
- Students are responsible to follow their interests
- Personalized learning environment
- Independent work time
- Academic rigor
- Mediation (peer and adult)
- Student workshops
- Choice of college classes
- One-on-one meetings with advisors
- Summer learning plans