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Big Picture Philadelphia and the Reform of America’s Educational System through Student-Centric Education PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Bromley, Christine Bare, Edward Garcia, Anne Saporito   
October 2009


The social innovation of the Big Picture learning model lies in how students are engaged.   In an overburdened urban school district and public school system, the individual voice of a child is usually unheard.  However, Philadelphia Big Picture founder David Bromley, a social innovator himself, thought differently.  David Bromley brought Big Picture to Philadelphia with the belief that the unique interests of each student are the true determinants of how each classroom operates. Each student is shown high levels of individual attention from Big Picture staff and – through a customized model facilitated by staff – from their own families and guardians, as well.  This holistic design is critical in reinforcing and supporting the values discovered by each student.  Certain tools and principles, such as limited class size (no larger than 15) and standardized teacher training, give direction and shape to each Big Picture school; however, the unique interests of each student are the true determinants of how each classroom operates.

At the root of a curriculum focused on interactive and progressive pedagogy is a flat hierarchy where students, administrators and advisors are considered to be equal partners in the students’ successes.  Developing students to be lifelong learners, as opposed simply to high school graduates, is another key principle guiding the Big Picture model.  In practice, this translates to settings and experiences that empower students to be their own agents for decision-making, problem-solving and pursuing professional interests.  By fostering opportunities and environments that capitalize on students’ self-identified passions, Big Picture helps to develop an expectation in young people that, for the rest of their lives, they can be in control of their goals.



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