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  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor "Are you with me now? 3.12.2021

“What happens when almost the entire system is overage and under-credited? What happens when almost everyone is off-track?"

– What Are We Losing by Keeping Learners on TrackVoices from the field, Illustration by Rachel Brian.

I wrote this article last year and feel it is loaded with meaning given our present day COVID environment. At Big Picture, we are known for our success with all students especially, students who are overage and under credited. As ludicrous as our performance measures are given the context we are in, we now have a very large percentage of national student body that is overage and under credited. Does anyone in their right mind believe that continuing the same kinds of programs that they/we always did is going to get students back on-track to graduate on time? Being logical about our present condition, it seems only sensible to have BPL be the programmatic design for the entire system. What do you think? As Wynton Marsalis stated, “The best musicians know their music isn’t about ‘schools’ at all. There’s only one school, the school of, “Can you play?” Isn’t this true of any field? B-Unbound is going to allow ways for anyone to enter into any field they want to be really good at. Stay tuned for further announcements coming in the beginning of April. Anyone wanting to know more just call me, Anthonette, Isary, Chris, or David. "It is not what the trades learn from us. It is what we learn from the trades."- Harbor Freight Fellows HFFI - My takeaways this week from my Harbor Freight Fellow talk was when HFF Fellow Wyatt told us that overtime his mentor gave him more responsibility and trusted him more as his skills improved. Yes, mentors take their role seriously and Fellows respond by taking their work seriously. Wyatt told us he will be a mentor if, he gains the skills and when the time is right. Wise words.

The Car Whisperer – I had to bring my car in this week because my 17-year-old truck was stalling out. When Simon, my mechanic took the truck, he opened up the hood listened and diagnosed the problem in 30 seconds. He heard a hissing sound and et viola, a hose to the catalytic converter had flattened. My mechanic didn’t look or go to a book or go to a Youtube or take a class. He never works on trucks and did me a favor. Crafts of the hand are actually crafts of all the senses. We not only think with our mind and feel with our senses, we feel with our minds and think with our senses. Like my mechanic paying attention to what was in front of him, we need to pay attention to who is in front of us using all of your senses.

“Speaking truth to power is the only way to be empowered and to have integrity. As important as that is understanding that art is a form of communication…And my art lets me communicate my sense of humor, my sense of culture, and my sense of commitment to social equity.” Kimberly Camp - artist All forms of communication – I enjoy and appreciate Anna’s, Charlie’s and Eva’s comments about my TGIF’s related to my insistence on bringing the arts and crafts to our work which I feel is right on the level. We need to develop our crafts and our practice much like Kimberly Camp who is featured in this issue of Craftsmanship Quarterly. We all have these talents for communicating without words and alongside language but do we bring them to our BPL table? Eunice does when we see her artwork and we all get who she is immediately from her drawings and performance. I’m hoping we see our arts, crafts and practices as measures of who our students and we are. Do we? Integration Charter Schools is a network of 4 charter schools that I spent about 90 minutes with their staff. It was a great informal gathering where we found out about one another’s network. BPLiving and HBCU’s - Xavier College Yesterday, Carlos, Stefin Pasternak, Dr. Marsha-Gail Davis, and a team from Xavier College started a conversation that I believe will turn into a number of promising practices that include BPLiving going to HBCU’s and a new relationship between Living School and Xavie College. It was a great start. Talk Story with Kapua - Namahana School Our webinar with Kapua Chandler from Kauai was deeply appreciated by all who attended for its thoughtfulness on setting BPL in a Hawaiian context. Participants encouraged Kapua to do something big at this year’s Big Bang. Her explanation and visual made us think and feel differently about how to approach our work. It was novel.

Be Well!


Elliot Washor

Co-founder of Big Picture Learning

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