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  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 5.7.2021

“Away we go….” We had our first meeting with principals and school staff from the Pacific Northwest, Barbados, Ireland and Australia that was orchestrated by Loren to take the next steps on spreading the International Big Picture Learning Credential (IBPLC) to BPL schools. Washington State is a good place to introduce the IBPLC in the USA. A number of schools in this group have already take advantage of the Washington State waiver for standardized assessments. Now, we can now use the IBPLC with the benefits being that different schools collectively can use the IBPLC process instead of each creating their own way of doing things. Unlike most competency-based assessments, the IBPLC doesn’t backslide into directly aligning to state standards. Instead, students can create and manage their own learnings in their own way that is judged by teachers, mentors and the IBPLC process. Psychometricians at the University of Melbourne have vetted the IBPLC and found it better than what the Education Ministry uses to assess student learning on standardized tests. Everyone agrees that if we can come up with something similar to what the Australians have done, we will accomplish a great deal in creating a more equitable system for students who have been most marginalized by these tests across race, class, gender and culture. Our Equity 2030 proposal to Kellogg uses the IBPLC for this exact reason. . IBPLC work has already started in Barbados. They have a student using the credential for college admissions. In talks with Director La Tasha Young at the newly created Shirley A. Chisholm Center for Equity Studies, they are interested in the IBPLC because the Shirley Chisholm Center examines and uncovers the roots, workings, and impacts of structural racism and systemic inequities in our communities. The Center traces their work to and through the Caribbean Diaspora which is part of Shirley Chisholm’s personal history. Lots more to come here. As our Barbados Principal, Gaby works on making connections to Trinidad and St. Lucia, the IBPLC is one of the important frameworks up for discussion. The work at both The Shirley A. Chisholm Center and BPL schools in the Caribbean are both emerging connections with the University of the West Indies. Viv and so many others in Australia have produced some brilliant work to share with all of us. This is the power of an international network of schools and a meshwork of people.


B-U’s been a long time coming. When we started BPL Dennis used to say, “History starts where you come into it,” meaning your personal history connects to a group or movements. For well over a decade, a few of us at BPL have been trying to do something like B-Unbound and a big difference is now we have funding, a partnership with Straight Up Impact Films and ImBlaze technology that make the connections both locally and from afar to supportive adults. We are striving to make access to B-U easy and elegant so, the most youth possible can experience it. It is then that the work really starts. Below is a draft graphic that tells the story. On May 10th B-Unbound will go public with a pilot.


Meetings continue with principals and school staff to introduce Phase 2 of BPLiving to a broader audience in preparation for Big Bang. Javier arranged the meeting with many schools from the Upstream Collaborative and it seemed everyone is already thinking about doing things that impact well-being given the return of students to face-to-face school. In this session, some points of interest and intersection was about indigenous foods and another about the positive impact of moving toward a plant-based diet in communities of color. I’m attaching two really good articles here for everyone.

Next week, students from Harbor Freight Fellows, Project InSight, BPLiving, and BP International will be presenting to the BPL board. Usually, the students who present are all from BPL schools but this time there are students who in some cases, are doing BPL work in schools that are not BPL schools. It is a sign of good healthy growth and influence. If all goes well one of our Harbor Freight Fellows will be presenting from onboard the ship she is on.



WAR ….. “I needed tools that would live up to my expectations.” Lee Oskar – Harmonica Player of WAR I had some great comments on my last TGIF about Lee Oskar’s quest for the best harmonica. Charlie Plant sent a video of him playing a Hohner. Shannon Johnson told me that right after she read the TGIF, her daughter emailed her that she was presently on a plane with the entire band. And, Enrique emailed to let me know he and Oskar played together way back when. Be well!


Elliot Washor Co-founder of Big Picture Learning

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