dennis littky – the met

dennis b w

To be honest.. I heard of Dennis, looked into Big Picture Schools, in Denver in particular, saw the math remediation, and skipped on by. I didn’t bother reading Dennis’s book.

A year or so later, here comes Jodhbir. He said that reading Big Picture Learning changed his life. So I thought I’d give it a whirl.

In posts that follow – watch me geek out.

Here is the mets latest: dreamschool project

wednesday, april 6, 2011dennis littky

if we didn’t know there was such a thing as school.. what would it be?learn through passion, then twice a week – with a mentor in the community, then come back and work more on tests,providence college and brownthey get to study something deeplykids weren’t talking about homework, etc, they were talking about passionhave 60 schools around the countrystarted college unboundif you’re not standing on the edge you’re taking up too much space

thank you Jodhbir – for sharing that it was Littky’s The Big Picture, Ed is Everyone’s Business

saturday, april 23, 2011 dennis littky
oh my – i love the man.
just finishing his The Big Picture, Ed is Everyone’s Business.
i almost underlined every word. no white space left in the book.

resonated 99.9% with what we are doing in the lab. and the met opened in 1996? dang. where the heck have i been.
the blueprint,… perfect for dreaming with artspace – and ace-loveland

they now have 73 schools around the world, and in aug 2009 started college unbound

more notes when i finish the book..

just finished. bravo Dennis Littky.
well – besides thinking everyone should read the book.. my biggest take-aways:

take away from these below – the saying that change is slow, just got changed in my head, it’s been slow, it’s been radically happening at the Met since 1996, Dennis has been at this 30 years, and in 1892 they were saying what we’re saying now – nothing is for everyone –  (how can that be radical?)

  • 1892: created secondary ed – and said it’s not for all, p. 20
  • 1993: Boyer, president of Carnegie Foundation that created seat time and carnegie unit, said that seat time is no way to measure how a kid learns, per minute?  p. 32
  • 2000: Reich, us secretary of labor, says curriculum is not needed for everyone, (ie: science, math, etc) p. 34

the below, culture is huge. a culture of trust is huge. trust in each other, trust in the naturalness of learning.

  • he says that the atmosphere, the culture, needs to be the main focus.  p. 45
  • that the curriculum is inside each kid.  p. 81
  • their goal: seek out whatever resources they can to help students bring their personalized curricula to life  p. 83  – help kids think
  • on 1-1 mentors/internships/etc – in Providence, 500,731 adults in workforce and 40,651 hs students  p. 128
  • found – it’s even better for kids to find own mentors than to facilitate match up  p. 129
  • the city is the floor plan of the school  p. 130
  • from gang research: young people need to feel a part of a culture, part of something larger than themselves.  p. 194

and they remind themselves of it daily in their mantras below…

the Mets mantras: p. 190

  • one students at a time – no agendas
  • real work – not even fake real
  • learning through interests – town is school, mentor up
  • family engagement – best mentors  

how to live both in and out of the system:

  • assess students by measure if they want to learn more -do they crave to share – look on real places, like in the community, on wikipedia, etc
  • if at the end – kids want transcripted grades – do that p. 162
  • use exhibitions and narratives and portfolios – always being there… curriculum changes daily – uses advisories/small hs’s – 14 kids to 1 adult. every kids needs to be known.

here’s authentic NCLB:

What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must be what the community wants for all its children.   – John Dewey  p. 145

Littky reads Dewey’s Experience and Education every year.  p. 30

ok.. maybe those two posts are enough.
pretty much the met – permeated everywhere, all ages, as the day, in the city.


you go big picture

The new competition asks districts “to show us how they can personalize and individualize education for a set of students in their schools,” Secretary Duncan stated. “We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century.”

“We are excited to see these changes being encouraged in schools across the country,” states Dennis Littky, co-founder of Big Picture Learning. “For over 17 years, Big Picture Learning has been on the front line of innovative personalized education. Once you find their passion and invite the student to drive their own education, the end results are phenomenal.”


dec 2014:

Dennis Littky spreading the word about Big Picture Learning in India with Manit Jain and Smriti Jain of Heritage…

Original Tweet:


april 2015 –

Luis Del Rosario at the 2015 Deeper Learning Conference

we’re all just ordinary kids .. the met helps you find what’s extraordinary about you


14 min video from march 2019

College Unbound (@CollegeUnbound) tweeted at 7:09 AM – 15 Mar 2019 :
Civil Rights Activist Dr. @HowardLFuller and @CollegeUnbound President & Co-Founder of @bigpiclearning & @MetSchool Dr. @Dennis_Littky Talk Need to Transform Education (

d: trying to give bachelor’s degrees to more diverse group to come in and be leaders of this state.. that’s what howard is here to talk about

on struggle to get that college ed


4 min – d: we find things people are already doing that they can get credit for

h: it’s not an option model.. we don’t have dennis everywhere and he’s been working on it 10 yrs.. how do we get this in the rest of the world..

let go of credit and try facil-ing daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city

5 min – d: now have 75 met schools in us

7 min – h: what we really need is a variety of choices.. and the reality is.. those of us who have money have choice..

true.. but not even best choice.. (esp if still w/in structure of society/success trying to credential your kid).. need everyone free for the environ to be most suitable to eudaimonia.. ie: cure ios city

9 min – d: we always thought it would be for the 37 million who started school and didn’t finish

oy.. so never about true freedom

12 min – on the 50 people charged for getting kids into ivy leagues