What's the BIG Idea?


High school students may now choose to expand their learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom for part of the school day, electing instead to be part of the new "Big Ideas School." The innovative program is intended to provide more options for students and families and to engage the community in education.

"To help our community see how powerful learning can happen outside the traditional school setting, we have to create a model with the exact same goals as our local public schools – a rigorous and awesome education – that opens doors for students to be college, career, innovation, and community ready," explained Dr. Trace Pickering, Associate Superintendent. "The program is a resume-building, competency-based elective that supplements the outstanding work students are already doing at their high schools."

BIG (Big Ideas Group) originated through the IowaTransformED project of the Gazette Companies (www.bigideasgroup.org). The program is focused on the concepts of: learner co-designed coursework, with students targeting their learning before lessons are developed; a demonstrated ability in both common content standards and 21st century skills; a focus on the development of skills necessary to work in diverse situations and relationships; design thinking to help students better understand how content, problems, and solutions are related; and connecting students to the community via resume-building projects and experiences.

The Big Ideas School will home base at the Vault co-working space in downtown Cedar Rapids and is open to all District high school students as an option with credit tied back to the high school they attend. District teachers will work one-on-one with students, along with field experts and business professionals.

"Students must be able to apply what they are learning to real world and community issues in order to receive credit," Pickering added.

Click here for student and parent information about BIG.

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