Celebrating Big Picture High School

Big Picture High School: A Culture of Kindness to Help Every Student Learn and Grow
Posted on 04/01/2022
big picture classroom

Attending Nashville Big Picture High School is like going to a big family reunion at school. The high school stands on the declaration that it enrolls families, not students.  big picture teacher at whiteboard

Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor established Big Picture Learning in 1995 with the mission of encouraging, inciting and effecting change in the United States educational system. Merging 30 years of experience as public school teachers and principals and living the motto of “education is everyone’s business,” their intention was “to demonstrate that schooling and education can and should be radically changed,” and from there, Big Picture was born.   

The Nashville school, which is open to students from across the district, opened its doors in 2007 near White Bridge Road.

“NBPHS is a school that approaches learning one student at a time,” Executive Principal Brenda Diaz says. “What makes our school unique is that we allow our culture of kindness to permeate in everything we do. We truly love our students, families and each other. NBPHS is the kindest and most passionate school in MNPS!”  

At NBPHS Every Student is Known through the student’s curriculum, which is geared toward their unique interests, background and learning style. Students learn through workshops, projects, internships and real-world experiences.big picture student in class, smiling at camera

At their work sites, students take on real-world tasks and projects under the supervision of a mentor.  Back at school, students work with their advisors, building and reinforcing the skills and knowledge needed to complete those projects. 

The high school follows a flexible college preparatory curriculum that responds directly to the work the student is doing at the internship site. Having small learning environments helps each student with their learning style and successful one-on-one time with instructors.

For 15 years, Big Picture has been rooted in five learning goals and has incorporated these foundational principles into a framework that helps students discover how to learn. The five goals, also known as Big Picture Learning Goals and Competencies, are Empirical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Communication, Social Reasoning and Personal Qualities.  

Nashville Big Picture Successes

  • Recipient of the Canopy Project Innovative School for three years, 2019-2021. The Canopy Project is a collaborative effort to surface a diverse set of innovative learning environments and document the designs they are implementing. 
  • 100% graduation rate for the last five years.
  • The school was featured in Edutopia. This quick visual guide can help teachers ensure that their daily lessons align with their learning goals and assessments.
  • Big Picture juniors and seniors are provided the opportunity to complete college-level courses with dual-enrollment partnerships with Nashville State Community College and Tennessee Technology Center in Nashville. 

2 big picture staff members


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