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  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 7.16.21

Next week, Big Bang arrives. On Sunday evening at my house, things start rolling with a gathering of the planning team for the Leadership Conference to be held in January in San Diego. It will certainly be great to see everyone and it is probably the most BPL people that have gathered in one place since we met right at the beginning of COVID in West Hollywood, FL - February 2020.

As usual there is a ton going on for Big Bang. This year’s theme Expectations Revolution strikes a chord that resonates with Leaving to Learn (LtL). In LtL, Expectations loom large. From the beginning of BPL, we always talked about how schools have always had expectations of students but that also students have expectations of schools. These expectations go mostly unrecognized and is the cause of loads of student disengagement. It is no mere coincidence that without any prompts Sophia and Naseem discussed their high expectations. Student’s expectations are something we have paid attention to and honored since our beginnings. Watch -


A few things I’ll be doing at BB:

My San Diego Leaving to Learn is taking us to “Say Their Names” a travelling exhibition driven by community volunteers from every city that the exhibition goes to. “Say Their Names” honors dozens of Black Americans who lost their lives interacting with police or who were victims of hate crimes. I’ve already been to the exhibit. While there, I stopped at each of the 300+ photos and said their name. ‘Nuff said.

At Big Bang, Harbor Freight Fellows, Project InSight and BPLiving will all be facilitated and led by students. All of this initiatives have a big year coming up around spreading and scaling beyond our schools into communities and districts. Maddie, Tirza, Alisha, David, Roccio and Maria and others will be with us at these sessions. Also, B-Unbound will have a session and be announced to our larger community. B-U is an opportunity to do BPL out of the confines of a school. Later today Me, Pam, Anthonette and Viv and David G. will be meeting around forms B-U can take.

My calls with Stephen Small , Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI) and Professor of African American Studies at Berkeley are getting to a place where ISSI is getting involved with BPLiving both in the Bay Area and around the country more specifically, in New Orleans at the post-secondary level. Also, an article in SUNY Downstate Medical School is coming out about BPliving. With Eric Adams being the front runner for mayor in NYC, there is lots of potential for NYC schools to take a national lead on well-being and heathy lifestyles. Recently, Adams published Healthy at Last which follows his plant-based transition alongside more than 50 recipes and discussions about how communities of color face a disproportionate amount of diet-related chronic illnesses. His political platform has been tethered to the way racism, diet, and poverty intertwine, aiming to help disentangle these systemic issues. Read More: Eric Adams Projected To Be New York City's First Vegan Mayor


Love this certificate from BPL Italia and a photo Beth sent on the way Italians practicing social distancing in a field of lavender.


Not much time to do a slew of ‘Ellisms’ for this year’s Big Bang but here are a few that have come out recently.

We are always at a crossroads in our work. Do we go as we know or do we know as we go? We make the road by walking.
Student-centered: Are you WITH a student or is a student WITH you? Both are student-centered. Are they both student-driven?
Agency - alone together; individual autonomy is entirely dependent on the community

Check-out Sherry Turkle on Alone Together - MIT professor Sherry Turkle argues that as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. Based on hundreds of interviews and with a new introduction taking us to the present day, Alone Together describes changing, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, and families.

See you at Big Bang where we get online to get offline.

Be Well!


Elliot Washor

Co-founder of Big Picture Learning

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