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  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 01.04.2022

Too many Know-What and Not Enough Know-How types of. measures will give you - How smart is this student to a standardized test? rather than, How is this student smart?

I had a really good call with Jonathan Raymond, Superintendent of New Rochelle School District. Turns out that both Fannie Lou Freedom School and New Rochelle are in the same Congressional District as Congressman Jamal Bowman. It just so happened that the day Jonathan and I spoke, Congressman Bowman was at New Rochelle High School. The upshot is that I’ve now been in contact with people in the New Rochelle school district to look at IBPLC, B-Unbound, BPLiving, Harbor Freight Fellows and Project InSight. Follow-up is next week with Carlos also talking to Jonathan about HS redesign and a possible BPL school there.

I learned that, yeah, school is not that serious. So why should I focus on it when I can focus on other things that matter more to me?” Melody Dao – student in LA

Schools use terms like ‘students at the center and student-centered learning for way too many reasons. They muddle the meaning of centering students around standardized test scores and grades. But now, because of COVID, many students have in their words, “de-centered school.” How teens are experiencing their version of the ‘Great Resignation’ is an article that discusses how students are experiencing their version of the Great Resignation in terms of being a student. From the stories of students here, it appears that COVID has done something that is making them rethink what is important and what gives their lives meaning. For me, this is totally predictable. We love to use our creative energies in times like these to muddle our way through difficult problems that matter to us, Not enough is being said in the media about how young people are resilient. This resilience is where their energies are creating new ways to do things and improve communities and hopefully make changes in schools.

The other night I was at the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Balboa Park. There was lots of music and dance. One act that brought tears to my eyes was the spontaneity of the youngest among us just getting up to dance. Masks and all, they were out there en Plein air just like any other time dancing away while we adults stood on the sidelines. Once again, the human spirit and resilience of youth are not what the news media spends much time on.

And to this end, this statement by evolutionary biologists E O Wilson and David Sloan gains meaning “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.”.

News from the Wayback Machine and the IBPLC

The image below was drawn by Rachel Brian, one of the first advisors at the Met. It appeared in our first Met School Portfolio in 1997 as well as a book was written by Adria Steinberg – Forty-Three Valedictorians: Graduates of the Met Talk about Their Learning. I’ll attach this small book to this TGIF. Anyone can see, the process is still the same but the technology has made it possible to use student work for a credential. Holy Asteroids!

We (Viv, Joe, David, Loren, and I) had a call yesterday with Unrulry, a group that developed a robust technology platform to capture a student’s, Learning Journey. Unruly has been used in some of our schools for a while. The discussion was about using them as a capturing platform of student learning that feeds into the Learner Profile and eventually into RUBY, the validating and warranting end of the IBPLC.


International BPL

Last week, there were a series of meetings occurring all over the BPL world. The photo below is of a meeting of our European group. The Tender Bar = BP International a la Scott took place last week in Dublin.

Then, the BPL International meeting a la Sonn – Chiara - Italy, Honey – Korea, Gaby – Barbados, Scott – Ireland, Marybeth, and Ben - Canada, Carol – Kenya, Arthur - Liberia. Roberto -Peru. These Zooms are full of Zoomy goodness. We share language and practice. The IBPLC took up lots of time.

The Namahana Charter was submitted today. We started writing it in 2019.

Last week, I went to Kauai and spent four days with Kapua, Mel, and the team putting it all together. I remember writing the first statewide charter ever granted in Rhode Island with Gigi DiBello and Charlie Mojo. At that time, This was 1998. It passed the committee in one try and was not more than 50 pages. Today, Namahana’s charter was over 200 pages. The charter process has taken a wide turn away from where it started as a means to innovate a system. Below is Kapua – Principal and Mel - Board Pres pushing the send button.


This week an article in the NY Times discussed which countries are and are not doing well with COVID. It was obvious at least from the graphics that the biggest differential of why the US was doing so badly was our obesity rate which is almost double that of Japan where COVID is not the problem it is here.

Danique and I discussed this graphic as we were transitioning the work of BP Living to him. How can our young people lead the way in preventing so many issues including a higher incidence of COVID connected to obesity?

Last week was BPL’s Radical Reset. I started the week with this line in mind – Anytime you got nothing to do and lots of time to do it, give me a call, “I’ll be around.”

Happy Black History Month –

Let’s get the vote out!


Elliot Washor

Co-Founder of Big Picture Learning

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