Big Picture Program
We believe that schools should be guided by one clear principle, that everything they do should be “what’s best for students.” Big Picture is directed towards students who are passionate about their interests and have a strong desire for success, yet have been unable to reveal their potential in a traditional classroom setting. Using the pillars of building meaningful relationships, making schoolwork relevant, and practicing rigor, our goal is to motivate students by connecting their interests to relevant and meaningful experience in the real world.
Big Picture is a small learning community at Montclair High School that began in 2012 and is part of a worldwide network of over 50 Big Picture schools. Big Picture is distinguished by:
- Internships twice a week that enable real-world learning in a meaningful environment.
- Small class size (1:15) to individualize student learning and build meaningful relationships with teachers.
- Strong parent involvement to help empower families and involve them in the learning process.
Once established in the program, students acquire a non-paid internship in the community for two afternoons each week. Through the internships, they gain an authentic learning experience that develops their abilities to apply academic knowledge and skills to the real world.
Students do not need to know your interests before entering Big Picture. Prior to the internships, they will complete self-assessments to explore their interests and learn how to thrive in a professional environment.
Previous internship areas have included: Physical Therapy; Fashion Design; Art; Automechanics; Woodworking; Business Management; Financial Investing; Biomedical Technology; Writing/Publishing
Big Picture classes consist of English, History, and the Advisory elective. These classes are scheduled in the afternoon. Internships are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Period 5 until the end of the school day. By scheduling this way, students do not miss your non-Big Picture morning classes (math, science, elective) and can be accommodated in their afternoon Big Picture classes.
Curriculum & Courses
Rather than adhering to a standardized curriculum, we educate one student at a time so that a student’s curriculum is determined by his or her unique interests, background, and learning styles. We make sure that students and families both feel connected to and empowered through their education.
While the curriculum and class structure is non-traditional, all learning is still connected to New Jersey’s content standards. We aim to prepare all students for the SAT’s and college as well as the workforce. History and English classes are both held at an academic level, but students may opt up to honors.
For more information about Big Picture, please contact any of the staff listed below.