Student Explains Highline’s Big Picture High School

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by Josh Hart

Many of you don’t know about this new school in the area and that is Highline’s Big Picture High School.

I would like to inform you about this school for two reasons:

The first being that everyone should know about all the schools in the area and the other being that I am sick and tired of explaining it on the metro.

Big Picture High School is a small school in the Highline School District. This would be its 4th year in the Highline School District. The Big Picture model started with The Met in Rhode Island. They now have schools like Big Picture all over the country and even some in other countries. The model is designed around individual learning plans and real world learning experiences.

Every Tuesday and Thursday we do LTI work (LTI stands for “Learning Through Internships”). Every student goes through the LTI process. They first search for businesses in their field of interest. Then they call them and ask for an informational interview. An informational interview is 15 minutes long and the student asks questions about their field of interest and the business itself.

After the informational interview, the student writes a reflection and also asks for his/her advisor/LTI Coordinator to request a shadow day. A shadow day is where the student follows the adult around for 3-6 hours learning about what they do. After the shadow day, the student once again reflects on it and if he/she likes it will ask their adviser to request an internship setup meeting. This is where the adviser, student, and mentor discuss what the internship consists of and what projects the student can do to benefit him/her self and the business. That is the brief synopsis of the LTI process.

The other cool thing about Big Picture is individualized learning plans. Each student has their own projects. They have to write project proposals for each project to make sure it is in-depth and fits into one of the five learning goals. The learning goals are the following:

  1. Empirical Reasoning: Thinking like a scientist. This is where you do projects that use science like thinking.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning: Thinking like a mathematician. This goal consists of all the student’s math work. It’s more than that though its not just doing math and turning it in, its understanding math and the reasoning behind it.
  3. Social Reasoning: This is all the social studies. It consists of understanding people, history, and the reasoning behind it.
  4. Communication: This is speaking, writing, drawing. Anything that the student communicates through fits under this goal.
  5. Personal Qualities: Improving yourself as a person. If you are becoming a better person you are completing this goal. Time management, organization, empathy all fit under this goal.

You must show improvement and understanding in all five of these learning goals in order to pass this class. We don’t have grades but we have a much more in-depth way of grading students than the traditional way.

That is the basic outline of the school. If you have any questions you can go on for more information.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Josh Hart is a 15-year old student who attends Highline’s “Big Picture High School” in SeaTac. He recently wrote on the economy, about JFK beating Highline 61-0 in football, an opinion piece on the VP debate and a story on Mt. Rainier High’s Drill Team playing at the Seahawks’ Halftime. You can look forward to reading more of his work on the B-Town Blog, as he will soon be our first Intern!]

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