Merging Student Interest with Academic Success
A Big Picture Inspired School
The Coastal Connections Program offers students the chance to be involved in a nontraditional high school experience. It provides students with a smaller, more supportive learning atmosphere which individualizes the learning experience while focusing on interest based learning opportunities. Coastal Connections is inspired by the Big Picture Learning (BPL) Model (see bigpicturelearning.org). This model understands that “each child has unique interests, needs, and abilities” and that “the key to achievement lies in fostering students’ individual interests and encouraging their active participation in the learning process.” There are currently over 130 BPL schools in existence in the United States and around the world including three in Connecticut (Bloomfield, Lisbon, and Storrs). Coastal Connections will be committed to developing “interest-generated, real-world, personalized learning” opportunities for each student. We will accomplish this while meeting state and local graduation standards.
Coastal Connections is inspired by the Big Picture Learning Model which provides individualized learning experiences with input from advisors, parents, mentors as well as the students themselves. The school is organized around an advisory model wherein students stay with the same advisor (teacher) for their entire high school experience. Personalized Learning Plans are developed quarterly by the students with staff, mentor, and parental input. The learning goals focus on five key skill areas: empirical reasoning, quantitative reasoning, communication, social reasoning, and personal qualities. Students are expected to participate in internship placements supervised by an on- site mentor within our local communities during school hours (two days per week). Examples of internships may include being placed with a local veterinarian, auto repair/body shop, bakery, law office, hospital, or day care facility.