How much time do students spend in class, on a typical week? For most schools, students are in school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (three days per week). This includes time spent in advisories and independent study time.
How much time do students spend in internships?
How many students per advisor-teacher? Do students meet one-on-one with their advisors? Ideally, we work to keep advisories small at about 20+ students. Students have regular meetings with advisors, parents and mentors.
What kind of courses will be taught at the school? Who does the teaching? In CA, courses are focused around the
A-G requirements. Credentialed advisors or teachers teach specific subject courses. Students often take courses at local community colleges or online.
Do students get grades? Are projects graded or given a narrative evaluation only?
This varies from school to school with some schools assigning grades every six weeks, others assigning grades at the end of each term. The narrative process is key as it provides students with a more comprehensive assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
How does Big Picture help students attend the college of their choice? We focus on early college exposure through community college courses in high school, SAT/ACT prep, college visits, partnerships with community colleges, etc. Big Picture works hard to ensure that every student has a post-secondary pathway, whether or not they pursue college. Most of our schools require students to apply to at least three colleges, complete the federal/state financial aid process, and apply for private scholarships.
For most schools, internships take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays (two days per week).
How do students get a chance to socialize and make friends if they are at internships? Because of the time that students spend with their advisory group over the course of four years, relationships among students and with advisors are very strong.
How will students be prepared for test-taking if they are evaluated through written narratives? Although our focus is not to “teach to the test,” we understand the reality of tests. Our schools provide tutorials around the CAHSEE, CST, SAT, ACT, etc. Each school develops a program to meet the needs of its respective students.
How do students get good writing skills if they are doing project-based work? These are not competing interests. Our students are required to keep journals, write autobiographies, personal statements. Writing, oral skills and presentation are very key skills that we focus on at Big Picture.
How are students prepared to attend a UC or CA State University? Will they receive the curriculum they need to be competitive? Students are prepared to attend a UC or CSU through Big Picture’s focus on A-G requirements, campus visits, and partnerships with community colleges.