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host schools

BPL Leadership Conferences are intentionally planned in communities where network schools exist, such that established and emerging leaders within the network have the opportunity to not only learn from and with peers who grapple with similar issues and celebrate similar success stories; but also have the opportunity to lend their own expertise in specific areas of focus. This year we're delighted to be able to visit five locations: Big Picture Philadelphia, Vaux Big Picture High School, El Centro Big Picture High School, Camden Big Picture Learning Academy, and College Unbound! This page is designed to help you and your teams consider which site to select, and also determine whether you'd prefer to visit individually or in groupings.

How do I select my Host Site Visit?  You must be registered for the Leadership Conference in order to select your school visit. Once you've completed your registration, you'll immediately receive an email asking you to complete your Attendee Profile. Host visit selection is part of that profile. If you've already registered for the Leadership Conference, check your email archive using the search term "Attendee Profile" to locate the link you'll need to re-access your profile. With any questions, or for assistance, please reach out to Selections will be made on a first come, first served basis.


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Big Picture Philadelphia

Space for: 20

Big Picture Philadelphia (founded in 2008) is an independent 501(c)3 which serves as the operational and financial manager of both Vaux and El Cento. BPP oversees the implementation of the BPL design and principles at both schools and contributes to the efforts to expand holistic educational practices throughout Philadelphia. 

Visit this site if:

You're interested in learning more about distributed leadership and systems-level work. How can a non-profit organization operating within a larger school system best provide comprehensive support to two high schools, both within the school system and in the broader community, to enhance the overall educational experiences and outcomes for students.


Vaux Big Picture High School

Space for: 80

Founded in 2016 by Big Picture Philadelphia, Vaux Big Picture High School is a community school, as well as a four-year public high school within the school district of Philadelphia. Vaux serves an average of 350 traditional high school aged students living within the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Sharswood, a historically Black community which had been the epicenter of the Philadelphia jazz scene in the 1920s and 30s. Redlining and decades of disinvestment have left Sharswood residents facing deep poverty, leading to skyrocketing levels of community violence.

Visit this site if:

You're interested in Real World Learning. Vaux has a goal of every student experiencing a Real World Learning opportunity that matters to them, and to leverage and translate the skills they develop as they move toward their post-secondary path. As a separate focus, some attendees will work closely with Big Picture Philadelphia and Vaux High School in their Response to Community Harm promising practice, an intentional discussion around what it means to be part of a neighborhood school that all too frequently finds itself surrounded by community violence. 

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El Centro Big Picture High School

Space for: 40

El Centro Big Picture High School was founded in 2009 by Big Picture Philadelphia in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Kensington, a neighborhood at the center of the national opioid epidemic. Kensington - at 30% - has one of the highest rates of Opportunity Youth in the city, equating to 10s of thousands of young who neither have a high school diploma nor gainful employment. 

Visit this site if:

You're interested in Resiliency. How can we, as educational leaders, leverage our collective support to assist El Centro's holistic Resiliency Support Services approach - which emphasizes love and care to enhance enrollment strategies and better navigate the intricate challenges students face, such as: housing insecurity, job responsibilities, teen parenting and gun violence; while ensuring that the heart and soul of the community remains at the forefront of its mission.  


Camden Big Picture Learning Academy 

Space for: 60

Camden BPL Academy, founded in 2005 as Met East, is a student-centered learning environment where students are empowered to advocate, think and question. CBPLA is co-located with three other autonomous high schools on the Camden High Campus. While these schools collaborate on various school-wide initiatives and activities, CBPLA has successfully maintained its strong culture and identity, offering students to explore their interests and passions through its maker space, pottery studio, media and recording studio, and carpentry space.

Visit this site if:

If you want to cross the Delaware en route to learning about vibrant, student-driven projects and explore the topic of how to challenge educators and students to center students' interests toward building authentic experiences.


College Unbound - Pennsylvania / New Jersey / Delaware 

Space for: 20

College Unbound, a Big Picture college, was founded in Rhode Island in 2009 to tackle the reality that 89% of individuals in the United States from the lowest economic quartile never finished a previously started post-secondary experience. CU centers equity by keeping the cost of a four-year degree low, serving adults between the ages of 29-66. CU students are mostly full-time students who work full-time jobs and have full-time family obligations. Since 2016, CU has graduated and/or retained a full 94% of its students. In 2022 CU scaled to Philadelphia and currently enrolls close to 100 students in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the School District of Philadelphia, Aspira, PHMC, Mastery HS in Camden, 1199c and the Wilmington Housing Authority.

Visit this site to learn:

You are interested in learning more about what the Big Picture model looks like serving adults in higher education! You're invited to join College Unbound in its Navy Yard offices where you'll have the opportunity to meet with CU students - learning about their projects - as well as provide questions and feedback for College Unbound's continuing opportunities for growth.

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