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Academy Students are Part of the Big Picture!

Selah Academy students will be a part of the big picture next school year as they will be the District's inaugural group of learners participating in the innovative educational program Big Picture Learning.

Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, Selah Academy will begin transitioning into a Big Picture Learning school.  Big Picture Learning, which has over 65 network schools in the United States, is a hands-on educational program with the sole mission of putting students directly at the center of their own learning through real world experiences.  As part of the Big Picture Learning model, students spend considerable time in the community performing internships under the guidance of mentors.  Students are not assessed solely on standardized educational requirements, but evaluated on demonstrations of "real world" vocation and performance standards that individuals face in everyday lives.  Assessment is individualized to the specific student and relative to personalized career interests. 

Participants enrolled in the Big Picture Learning program are part of a small learning community of students in an advisory. Each student is supported and led by an advisor—a teacher who works with participants to identify career related interests and develop personalized learning plans.  As career interests are identified, students job shadow and perform internships under the guidance of local business and trade mentors. While working with a mentor, students gain real world working experiences in a professional field where the educational opportunities are authentic and relevant.  In addition to working in the field a couple of days a week, students are also learning in the classroom by acquiring competencies specific to their learning plan. 

In the Big Picture Learning environment students have the opportunity to be enrolled for four years and are assessed based on competencies, not credits, and level up or advance once specific standards are met.  There are five main competencies that students must meet at each level in order to proceed to the next.  These learning competencies include:

•Communication. The student demonstrates day-to-day and interpersonal communication skills.  In addition, every 12 weeks students provide an exhibition, which is a presentation in front of program stakeholders, that exhibits what they have been learning.  Students also keep a written autobiography which journals their experiences.

•Empirical Reasoning. The student experiences the science behind what they are doing in the career path they have chosen.

•Quantitative Reasoning. Students apply the math and logic skills relevant to their internship and classroom experiences.

•Social Reasoning. Participants problem solve "on-the-job" challenges and experience real scenarios to learn how the world works.

•Personal Qualities. The student exhibits specific individual skills and qualities that reflect how they, as a contributing member of society, are bettering the community.

Students demonstrate mastery of these competencies throughout their internships and work related experiences, as well as through student-interest driven projects, classroom discussions and supplemental materials.

According to Selah Academy Principal, Joe Coscarart, Big Picture Learning is an innovative educational opportunity for students who do not respond to the traditional and standard paced learning environment.

"The Big Picture program is literally a hands-on and personalized approach to education which provides a different concept to learning where students demonstrate proficiency in a career interest field and have the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting.  Students are invested in their education as they acquire academic competencies, while gaining valuable fundamental skills which are of life-long value."

Students currently enrolled at Selah Academy will have the first opportunity to register in the program.  The school has up to 30 positions available.  For positions that are unfilled, the enrollment opportunity will be available to additional Selah students.

Currently Selah Academy is recruiting Selah and Yakima businesses, or individuals with a skilled trade, who are interested in serving as Big Program Learning mentors.  If you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Joe Coscarart at 698-8063, or joecoscarart@selahschools.org. Next year Selah Academy students will take a hands-on approach to learning as part of the Big Picture Learning Program.