The Met and Big Picture Learning Schools Praised by President Obama As a Personalized Educational Program That Effectively Reduces Drop Outs

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In a speech before the United States Chamber of Commerce unveiling a new nationwide drop out prevention campaign, President Obama recognized and praised the Met Center in Providence, RI and the Big Picture Learning design for effectively reducing the drop out rate and preparing students for 21st century careers through their personalized and authentic learning program.

President Obama

That's why we'll follow the example of places like the Met Center in Rhode Island that give students that individual attention, while also preparing them through real-world, hands-on training the possibility of succeeding in a career.

In a speech before the United States Chamber of Commerce unveiling a new nationwide drop out prevention campaign, President Obama recognized and praised the Met Center in Providence, RI and the Big Picture Learning design for effectively reducing the drop out rate and preparing students for 21st century careers through their personalized and authentic learning program.

President Obama singled out the Met Center in Providence, Rhode Island as an institution that offers the kind of individual instruction to students that is necessary in order to effectively target the drop out crisis in the United States. He said: “That’s why we’ll follow the example of places like the Met Center in Rhode Island that give students that individual attention, while also preparing them through real-world, hands-on training the possibility of succeeding in a career.”

The Met Center in Providence, RI is the flagship school of a quickly growing international network of Big Picture Learning schools. Presently, the Big Picture Learning design is being implemented in over seventy schools across eighteen states and has partnering schools in Australia, The Netherlands, and Israel. Big Picture Learning touts a highly-praised and innovative school design grounded in personalization and real-world learning opportunities that has been successfully implemented in grades K-12 with incredible results. This design is applicable and beneficial for all students, both at-risk, over-age, and/or under-credited as well as gifted and talented youth. Big Picture Learning is also a leading organization in the Association for High School Innovation (AHSI), a national network of youth development organizations.

Presently, Big Picture schools average a 93% attendance rate. In the 2006-2007 school year, the Big Picture Learning network achieved a 92% graduation rate across its schools (compared to 52% nationally). Big Picture graduates are members of the U.S. demographic groups who are the least likely to complete high school, enroll in college, or attain postsecondary degrees (85% of BPL schools receive Title I funding; 66% of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch); however, in the 2006-2007 school year, 95% of students were accepted into college (compared to 45% nationally).

About Big Picture Learning
The Big Picture Learning design is a dynamic approach to learning, doing, and thinking that has been changing the lives of students, educators, and entire communities since 1995. All the components of the design are based on three foundational principles: first, that learning must be based on the interests and goals of each student; second, that a student’s curriculum must be relevant to people and places that exist in the real world; and finally, that a student’s abilities must be authentically measured by the quality of her or his work. Hallmarks of the Big Picture design include small schools, close relationships with a four-year peer group and advisor (teacher), and individualized curricula that arise from student interests and tie to extensive internships under expert mentors.

For more information, visit http://www.bigpicture.org. For more information about AHSI, visit http://www.ahsi.org.

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Briana Masterson
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