General Information

What is the Bellevue Big Picture School?

The Bellevue Big Picture School is a secondary (6th-12th grade) school-of-choice that opened to 6th and 9th graders in September 2011. In partnership with the nationally recognized Big Picture Learning Network, five guiding principles provide the school’s foundation and framework: personalization, adult-world connection, common intellectual mission, supportive partnerships, and shared leadership and responsibility. The school is uniquely structured to guide students from middle school through high school graduation, building bridges across grades that lead to college success.

Big Picture Learning is a dynamic approach to learning, doing, and thinking that has been changing the lives of students, educators, and entire communities since 1995. The design components are based on three foundation principles: first, learning must be based on the interests and goals of each student; second, a student’s curriculum must be relevant to the people and places that exist in the real world; and finally, a student’s abilities must be authentically measured by the quality of her or his work. Nationally, Big Picture schools have a graduation rate of 92% and a college acceptance rate of 95% succeeding especially with students of color and students living in poverty. For more information on the Big Picture model, go to

When did the school open and where is it located?

Bellevue Big Picture School opened in September 2011 to 6th and 9th grade students. The school now serves all grades 6th-12th and the class of 2015 was the 1st graduating class. The maximum enrollment is projected to be 525 students. The school is located at 14844 SE 22nd Street, Bellevue WA 98007.

What will the school hours be? Is there special busing?

The school day will be 8:00 am -3:00 pm for high school and 8:10 am – 3:10 pm for middle school. There is a 30 min tutorial Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday after school. Each Wednesday is a district-wide early release day. High school students will be released at 1:00 pm on Wednesdays and middle school students at 1:40 pm. All high school and middle school students will receive Metro/ORCA passes to travel to the school. There is limited yellow bus transportation to the school for the 2023-2024 school year. There are several metro routes that drop off close to the school. Please check the metro website for schedules and details.

How does the daily schedule work?

Middle school students attend all 7 periods Monday, Tuesday, and Friday with block classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Pick Me Ups occur every Tuesday so class times are slightly altered. High School students attend their internships on Thursdays, have 7 periods on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and A/B rotating block classes on Wednesdays.

What is a “Pick Me Up”?

Pick Me Ups (PMUs) occur on Tuesdays for middle school and Wednesdays for high school. They are a time for the students to gather to learn about career and college information, community service, class projects and to engage in community building and student recognition. Students take an active role in planning the weekly PMUs with their advisors.

What is available for lunch?

We provide the typical district offerings for secondary school lunches, including a hot entrée each day with salad bar, pizza, chicken sandwich, cheeseburger, hummus plate, chicken caesar salad, and yogurt box. The free and reduced priced lunch program is available. Currently, the hot breakfast program is not available, but as the school grows in size, we hope to be able to provide that service to students. We also participate in all district programs to support students who need access to weekend meals and meals over the breaks. Information is available in our main office.

What is the curriculum like?

The curriculum at Bellevue Big Picture School is organized around five learning outcomes: Empirical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Social Reasoning, Communication, and Personal Qualities. To satisfy goals in these areas, students will learn content in humanities (language arts and social studies), math, science, Spanish, health and fitness, and art/digital media. Curriculum will be project-based, aligned with district, state and national standards, and centered on contemporary issues that relate to students’ interests and activities. The curriculum will also maintain an active focus on technology integration, multiculturalism and social justice. All middle school students have an advisory class that focuses on community building, college/career exploration, leadership, goal-setting, and academic and study skills. This course is a cornerstone to developing the Big Picture mission.
Ninth grade students will begin the year with courses and internship preparation five days a week. By the end of first semester, students will be out at internships 1 day per week, earning academic credit for their internship work. During the other four days per week on campus, students are in core academic classes (English, social studies, math, science, PE/health, Spanish or art).

What is Project-based Learning (PBL)?

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student “voice and choice,” rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create
high-quality, authentic products & presentations.

Rigorous and in-depth Project Based Learning:

  • Is organized around an open-ended Driving Question or Challenge. These focus students’ work and deepen their learning by centering on significant issues, debates, questions and/or problems.
  • Creates a need to know essential content and skills. Typical projects (and most instruction) begin by presenting students with knowledge and concepts and then, once learned, give them the opportunity to apply them. PBL begins with the vision of an end product or presentation which requires learning specific knowledge and concepts, thus creating a context and reason to learn and understand the information and concepts.
  • Requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new. Not all learning has to be based on inquiry, but some should. And this inquiry should lead students to construct something new – an idea, an interpretation, and a new way of displaying what they have learned.
  • Requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication. Students need to do much more than remember information—they need to use higher-order thinking skills. They also have to learn to work as a team and contribute to a group effort. They must listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking, be able to read a variety of material, write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations. These skills, competencies and habits of mind are often known as “21st Century Skills”.
  • Allows some degree of student voice and choice. Students learn to work independently and take responsibility when they are asked to make choices. The opportunity to make choices, and to express their learning in their own voice, also helps to increase students’ educational engagement.
  • Incorporates feedback and revision. Students use peer critique to improve their work to create higher quality products. The focus shifts to improving their work rather than just getting the right answer.
  • Results in a publicly presented product or performance. In most of the real adult world what you know is demonstrated by what you do, and what you do is frequently open to public scrutiny and critique. Giving students the opportunity to practice this skill of communication is essential for success after school.

What is PBL video:

Why PBL?

Students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and standards at the heart of a project. Projects also build vital workplace skills and lifelong habits of learning. The skills learned through PBL are the top 5 skills which employers are looking for in employees in the 21st. Century. (NACE press release, 2010) Projects can allow students to address community issues, explore careers, interact with adult mentors,
use technology, and present their work to audiences beyond the classroom. PBL can motivate students who might otherwise find school boring or meaningless.

How is PBL used?

Some teachers use PBL extensively as their primary curriculum organizer and instructional method. Others use PBL occasionally during a school year. Projects vary in length, from several days to several weeks or even a semester. Usually the projects are done in a team of two to four students. This emphasizes the collaborative nature of learning and develops interpersonal communication skills, all of which will be reinforced in the internships. The goal of Bellevue BPS is to create a PBL rich experience for students across all grades and courses. PBL can be effective at all grade levels and subjects, and in career/technical education, after school and alternative programs.

Why internships, and how do they work?

A main component of education at a Big Picture High School is the LTI (Learning Through Interests/Internships). In this internship with an expert mentor in the field of the student’s interest, the student completes an authentic project that benefits the student and the mentor at the internship site. The projects are connected to the student’s interests and meet the needs of the mentors, and are a key part of deepening student learning and academic growth.
Sample projects from Bellevue BP students include: teaching middle school and elementary school classes, working on a local political campaign, working with a professional industrial 3-D design team to develop a new product, working with autistic students at a research program, designing graduation announcements at a graphic arts studio, building model bridges at an engineering firm, creating a promotional video for a physical therapy organization, marketing items for a local non-profit, designing the school art gallery, assisting the IT department at a local non-profit with web design, and learning a variety of computer programs at a financial corporation. Examples of projects from students at other BP schools include: assisting with surgeries at veterinary hospitals, preparing 3-D renderings to present to clients at an architectural firm, teaching classes in middle and elementary schools, developing websites for a design company, assisting in building a database for invoice auditing at Starbucks Corporate, rebuilding carburetors at a motorcycle shop, assisting researchers in biology and astronomy at a local university, and helping to secure dental care for low-income children.
Students, parents, and Big Picture staff work together to secure internships for students based on each student’s interest area. Due to confidentiality and age restrictions, some areas are more challenging to find internships for our ninth graders than others. In these circumstances, we encourage students to explore areas closely related to their interests that would assist them in securing other internships when they are older. Students must show evidence of personal independence and social responsibility prior to an internship experience, including demonstrating proficiency in the internship class components (creating resumes and cover letters, developing interview skills, arranging job shadow opportunities). Therefore, students may start their internships at different times, ensuring that each student is ready to have a successful experience.
An important component of the internship process is for students to develop networking and communication skills, self-advocacy, and initiative. Students are encouraged to stretch outside their comfort zone and immerse themselves in the adult world. Each internship lasts for ten-weeks but may be extended depending on the project work and mentor-student relationship. From 9th-12th grades, internships provide students with multiple opportunities to explore fields of interest, interact professionally with adults in a variety of ways, and complete real-world projects that develop their academic skills. Students are responsible for finding transportation to and from the internship site on Thursdays. For many students, metro is the best option. All internship sites and mentors are carefully screened and approved through the VIBES (Volunteer in Bellevue Educational System) office and the BP Internship Coordinator prior to students officially starting their internship experience.

What if I am interested in being a mentor or know someone who is interested in helping the school?

We are continually looking for local business people and others who would like to help our students reach their potential. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with us or becoming a mentor, please contact the school’s principal, Bethany Spinler, at [email protected].

How do we measure students’ academic success?

Together with their advisor, students create goals each quarter in academics, citizenship, internship (high school only), and personal qualities. Each semester during student led conferences, students provide evidence toward meeting these goals and offer a reflection on their learning and then set goals for the next quarter. In addition, students provide evidence for their learning in each of the five Big Picture goal areas (Empirical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Social Reasoning, Communication, and Personal Qualities). Family members and others are encouraged to attend the student led conferences and celebrate their student’s work. Further, students at Bellevue Big Picture complete projects, take tests, write papers and a variety of other assessments in their core classes. Most project units culminate in a public exhibition of student work to which family members are invited to attend. Students receive letter grades and transcripts consistent with other Bellevue district schools. Students take all required state tests (WCAS, Smarter Balanced), progress monitoring assessments (STAR), and college entrance pre-assessments (PSAT).

What is standards-based grading?

Bellevue Big Picture School uses standards-based teaching, assessment, and grading. This educational philosophy clearly aligns our instruction and assessment with Washington State EALR’s (, National Common Core Curricular Standards (, and 21st Century Skills ( , Students are empowered to take responsibility for their own mastery of the standards and will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their growth and progress. Assessment and the associated grade are designed to reflect and accurately communicate the proficiency with which students demonstrate their mastery of specific standards. The grading scale is designed to communicate their proficiency level and whether or not they exceed or may need improvement in specific standards at any given time.

How does BBPS monitor progress towards meeting standards?

Students’ grades are posted online with each course assessing students on the subject area standards. As students demonstrate their learning in class, grades are entered to show current understanding. Students who have not yet demonstrated proficiency of a particular standard continue to work and improve their mastery of the concept and have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency until they meet or exceed standard. At each quarter’s learning plan meeting, advisors, students, and parents will discuss this progress and devise a plan to support the student’s further growth and achievement. All work is assessed on a four-point scale with a level 3 indicating proficiency in any given standard. Students have multiple opportunities to show proficiency in standards.

Assessment Scale used in school-wide rubrics and grading:
4- Student shows proficiency in the content/skill and can apply it to new situations.
3- Student shows proficiency in using the content/skill as it has been introduced in class.
2- Student understands pieces of the content/skill, but is not able to put them together.
1- Student can demonstrate some of the content/skill with help

Overall Grade Calculation:
At least 80% of each student’s grade will be based upon demonstrated proficiency within content-specific Standards. Up to 20% will be based upon demonstration of proficiency within 21st-Century Skills-based Standards such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, technology, and problem-solving.

What student support services are offered at Big Picture?

We offer special education instruction, mentors and tutorial. English as a Second Language (ESL) services are available. BPS does not offer AVID, however incorporates AVID techniques and strategies throughout the school program. In middle school students receive additional support in literacy and math two days per week in advisory as part of our workshop program. Students lead student-led conferences with advisors and parents multiple times per year, sharing their goals, progress, and action plans.

What is “Tutorial”?

Tutorial is a time set aside after school that teachers are available to assist students with assignments. Tutorial is not mandatory but highly recommended. However, if a teacher requests a student to remain for tutorial or a student asks for some after-school help, this is the time to meet. Students may be assigned a ‘Mandatorial’ by their teacher and required to stay to make up missing tests/work.

What was the graduation rate for the previous graduating classes?

The Class of 2015 was the 1st graduating class and had 100% graduation. Class of 2016-2022 were also 100% eligible for graduation. 90% of Bellevue Big Picture School Graduates Enrolled in College

Bellevue Big Picture School 2015-2022 graduates were accepted to the following institutions:
Allegheny College Evergreen State College Portland State University University of Denver
Arizona State University Franklin Olin College of Engineering Purdue University University of Hawaii
Bard College Franklin and Marshall College Quest University University of Idaho
Bastyr University George Fox University Reed College University of Maine
Belmont College Gonzaga University Rochester Institute of Technology University of Montana
Boise State University Hampshire College Rutgers University University of Oregon
Bradley University Hofstra University Saint Louis University University of the Pacific
Cal Poly Joffrey Ballet School San Diego State University University of Portland
Cal State Los Angeles Johns Hopkins University Santa Clara University University of Puget Sound
Cal State Long Beach Knox College Santa Monica College University of Redlands
California Lutheran Lewis and Clark College Savannah College of Art and Design University of San Francisco
Carleton College Linfield College Scripps College University of South Carolina
Carroll College Loyola Marymount Seattle Pacific University University of South Dakota
Central Washington University Macalaster College Seattle University University of Texas, Austin
Chapman University Miami Dade College Seton Hall University University of Utah
Coe College Miami University, Oxford Stetson University University of Vermont
Colgate University Montana State University St. John’s College University of Victoria
College of William and Mary Murray State University St. Mary’s College of California University of Washington
Colorado College New York Institute of Technology The College of Wooster University of Wyoming
Colorado State University Northeastern The New School Washington State University
Concordia University Wisconsin Northern Arizona University University of Alaska Western Oregon State University
Cornell College New York University University of Arizona Western Washington University
Cornell University Oberlin College University California, Irvine Whitman College
DigiPen Institute of Technology Ohio Wesleyan University University of California, Los Angeles Whitworth University
Earlham College Oregon State University University of California, Santa Barbara Whittier College
Elon University Otterbein University University of California, Santa Cruz Willamette University
Eckerd College Pacific Lutheran University University of Colorado, Denver Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Emerson College Penn State University University of Dayton York University
Which colleges or universities have accepted Bellevue Big Picture graduates?
Bellevue Big Picture School 2015-2021 graduates were accepted to the following institutions:
Allegheny College Emerson College Portland State University University of Dayton
Arizona State University Evergreen State College Purdue University University of Denver
Bard College Franklin and Marshall College Quest University University of Hawaii
Bastyr University George Fox University Reed College University of Idaho
Belmont College Gonzaga University Rochester Institute of Technology University of Maine
Boise State University Hampshire College Rutgers University University of Montana
Bradley University Hofstra University Saint Louis University University of Oregon
Cal Poly Joffrey Ballet School San Diego State University University of the Pacific
Cal State Los Angeles Johns Hopkins University Santa Clara University University of Portland
Cal State Long Beach Knox College Santa Monica College University of Puget Sound
California Lutheran Lewis and Clark College Savannah College of Art and Design University of Redlands
Carleton College Linfield College Scripps College University of San Francisco
Carroll College Loyola Marymount Seattle Pacific University University of South Carolina
Central Washington University Macalaster College Seattle University University of South Dakota
Chapman University Miami Dade College Seton Hall University University of Texas, Austin
Coe College Miami University, Oxford Stetson University University of Utah
Colgate University Montana State University St. John’s College University of Vermont
College of William and Mary Murray State University St. Mary’s College of California University of Victoria
Colorado College New York Institute of Technology The College of Wooster University of Washington
Colorado State University Northern Arizona University The New School University of Wyoming
Concordia University Wisconsin New York University University of Alaska Washington State University
Cornell College Oberlin College University of Arizona Western Oregon State University
Cornell University Ohio Wesleyan University University California, Irvine Western Washington University
DigiPen Institute of Technology Oregon State University University of California, Los Angeles Whitman College
Earlham College Otterbein University University of California, Santa Barbara Whitworth University
Elon University Pacific Lutheran University University of California, Santa Cruz Whittier College
Eckerd College Penn State University University of Colorado, Denver York University

90% of Bellevue Big Picture School Graduates Enrolled in College

How does BBP prepare students for college?

Beginning in 6th grade, all students will explore different college and career pathways and participate in visits to local college campuses. Several AVID (advancement via individual determination) strategies are woven throughout the middle school program to support students in our college prep curriculum. These include Cornell note-taking, peer study groups, and writing and collaboration strategies. High School students will be supported in preparing for college admission tests and navigating admissions and financial aid applications. All Big Picture students are encouraged to apply to at least one college before graduation. 11th and 12th grade students will also be able to enroll in college courses through Running Start, where they may earn college credit and take courses at Bellevue College that are not offered on the high school campus.

How do Big Picture students earn college credit while in high school?

BBPS offers rigorous college-preparatory coursework, including five Advanced Placement courses (AP Statistics, AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, AP Photography, and AP Human Geography.) BBPS students may also earn college credit through College in the High School for Precalculus, Senior English, Physics of the Universe, and Photography. 100% of our Senior Class is enrolled in at least one college credit-granting course their senior year.
Students may also opt to enroll in Running Start at Bellevue College. Washington State’s Running Start program allows high school juniors and seniors to enroll at local colleges tuition free, earning high school and college credit simultaneously.

How do Big Picture students prepare for 21st century careers?

High school students spend one full-day per week in a pre-professional position at an internship site of their choice. Each internship lasts a minimum of 10 weeks. Students may have multiple 10-week internships each year or one extended internship. By the end of their senior year, each student has completed over 500 hours in one or more occupational roles. Internship experiences culminate in the completion of a project co-designed by the site-based mentor, student, and school advisor which students present at semester exhibitions. BBPS student internship sites have included Bellevue Fire Department, Rob McKenna campaign, Overlake Hospital, Seattle International Film Festival, Pacific Financial Group, Aurora Veterinary Hospital, Seattle Youth Project, Pacific Science Center, Foundry 10, and many more.

Why teachers are called advisors?

Teachers at Bellevue Big Picture work closely with a small group of students over multiple years. They get to know each student well, help students design learning plans that combine their coursework and interests, and work alongside students and families to help each student succeed. Because they do more than teach a specific course, “advisor” better describes their work at the school.

What opportunities are there for parental involvement and engagement?

Families are a crucial part of student learning at Bellevue Big Picture. Parents/guardians consult with students, advisors, and mentors about how students can best meet their learning goals, and parents are strongly encouraged to attend quarterly exhibitions of student work and other school events. Several parents serve as guest speakers sharing their interests and/or career information with our classes. Others serve on classroom panels providing feedback to students during exhibitions. Parents volunteer in our office, serve as advisory parent reps, chaperone field trips, mentor and tutor students, assist teachers in the classroom, and serve on PTSA committees. Each quarter, the school hosts parent nights pertaining to a variety of different topics including: welcome to high school, 8th to 9th grade transition, and Naviance and college readiness.

How is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?

From Smart Boards to computers, technology is vital in helping students seek out information, meet their individual learning needs, and prepare for college and careers. Use of technology is integrated into core classes, and students will have access 24/7 to laptop computers at school and home. All students are issued a laptop for the academic year that they bring to and from school. Currently, all staff use One Note as a course management program, posting curriculum, assessments, and homework for students and parents to access daily via the internet.

What opportunity exists for foreign language?

Spanish will be offered to middle school students beginning in grade 7 and to all high school students.

What electives are available?

All general education 6th grade students take the same slate of courses which include language arts, social studies, math, science, PE/health, art, and advisory. In 7th and 8th grades, students may begin their study of Spanish or select from a few electives including drama, studio art, media tech, video production and coding. Electives will be offered based on student enrollment. There is no instrumental music program at Big Picture, though high school students can take guitar and composing music with technology classes. For high school, students take internship, math, science, English, social studies, PE/health, art or Spanish. The internship course gives students CTE (career and technical education) credit required for graduation and elective credit. Students will have the opportunity to explore a variety of interests through the internship program. Once students are in 11th and 12th grade, they may take a variety of courses at Bellevue College as Running Start students.

Special education students may have fewer elective opportunities in order to support their special education needs.

What extracurricular opportunities (clubs, activities) are available for students?

Because of the school’s small size, it will not sponsor any high school interscholastic sports teams. Clubs and after school activities will be developed during the school year based on student interests and participation. Middle school students can also participate in the afterschool sports program facilitated by Jubilee Reach. This program is located on each middle school’s campus. This year BP students participated in soccer, golf, basketball, cross country and flag football. During the intersession between sports seasons, students may opt to stay afterschool participate in free Club Jubilee activities. BBPS students have formed an ASB, written a constitution, and have hosted socials, middle school dances, and determined the mascot (Go Panthers). Each year, students determine the clubs they want to offer. Clubs have included: Trading Card Club, Yearbook, Art Club, QSA, Green Team, Botany club, Math Club, Soccer Club, Melee Club, Puzzle Club and Destination Imagination. With each new year, more clubs will be developed based on student interest. Each year, students coordinate a Talent Show in the spring in conjunction with our Multicultural Dessert Night. There is an annual day of service on campus for families and students to participate as well as a Day of Service where the entire student body is off-campus at varied local non-profits for one school day.

Can a student still play sports for his/her home school?

Yes, high school students may still play on teams for their home schools. Students are responsible to ensure that they satisfy academic and physical requirements for sports eligibility, and to provide transportation to and from practices and games.

Application & Enrollment

How does Big Picture admit students?

Big Picture is committed to serving students throughout the District. We allocate admission spots equally to the four school attendance zones (25% each from East, West, South, and North) and use free and reduced priced lunch status and gender as ‘plus factors”. Students must be entering the 6th -12th grades on the first day of the school year. Entering 6th grade students must demonstrate completion of the 5th grade through standardized testing and/or a portfolio of completed work. Up to 80 students in each of 6th-11th grade will be admitted. For the fall, a lottery will be conducted for 6th grade spots. There will be limited openings for 7th-12th grade students and this is based on rolling admissions. See our admission procedure document for more specific information.

Who is eligible for the lottery?

Applying students must be in the 5th grade and live within the Bellevue School District boundaries. Out of district students may apply, but these applications are held for a separate out of district lottery and will be placed on the waitlist only after all BSD students have been assigned a number on the wait list. See our admission procedure document for more specific information.

What are the requirements for admission?

Big Picture School offers students a tight knit, personalized, non-traditional learning environment where students have a voice in determining what and how they learn and how they demonstrate understanding. This is a different environment from most district schools, and as such, Big Picture School is not the right fit for all students. Big Picture School requires each applicant to demonstrate motivation and commitment to the Big Picture program and learning philosophy and will determine admission/non-admission based on the following requirements for acceptance:

  1. complete an application form and submit online or see the school for a paper copy,
  2. submit a written statement explaining why they think the Big Picture School is the right school for them (included in the supplemental application materials and for informational purposes only- the essay is not used for screening applicants though is required for all applicants to complete once admission is offered), and
  3. sign the Big Picture Code of Commitment (included in supplemental application materials).
What kind of student will succeed at Big Picture School?

The success of the Bellevue Big Picture School community depends on the hard work, positive attitude and growth of each individual. At each grade level, students work daily in a tight knit cohort of students and teachers. Since students and teachers loop with each other from grade to grade, students who value a high degree of personalization and close relationships thrive at the Big Picture School. This school may not be the right fit for students who desire a larger school atmosphere that changes from one year to the next. The curriculum is project/problem-based and involves frequent collaborative group work. Students who thrive here are committed to working with and learning from their peers who may possess diverse ideas, interests, and skill sets. Successful students will also possess a strong curiosity and willingness to explore new ideas, particularly about college and careers.

High school students must also demonstrate personal independence and social responsibility since they work at internships in the business community. Specifically, students must be self-directed and possess self-control, and committed to making a positive impact on the school learning environment and broader community. In addition, students should demonstrate punctual attendance, professional etiquette, responsible decision-making, ability to work with and receive feedback from others, good communication and time management skills, ability to navigate Metro transportation, and a strong desire to learn.

When can students apply?

The district’s open enrollment period runs from mid Dec-early January each year. Specific dates will be announced each November. During that time, there are information sessions for Big Picture School. Applications are available on the website. All applications for the 6th grade lottery must be received by the January deadline to be entered into the lottery. There is no preference given to early applications for the 6th grade lottery. After the end of the open enrollment period, student applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and added to the end of the waitlist.

For grades 7-12, applications are accepted on a rolling basis and admission is granted as soon as openings are known.

What is the application procedure?

Students/parents must submit online application materials by the January deadline to be eligible for the 6th grade lottery. Results will be emailed in February. Students will have one week from the notification date to confirm their intention to attend. For students offered admission, they must then complete and submit the acceptance form and the supplemental application questions and signed Code of Commitment. During this time period, the principal may schedule informational interviews with selected students and parents. For all other grades, applications are accepted on a rolling basis and students are notified as soon as openings are known. Applications are online. Families without email access are asked to pick up paper applications at the school which will be scanned and submitted electronically by the school. See our admission procedure document for more specific information.

What if Big Picture School receives more qualified applicants than it has capacity to enroll?

Big Picture School will carefully consider the application of each applicant. If Big Picture School receives more applications from qualified applicants than it is able to accept, Big Picture School will consider socio economic status, geography, and gender as “plus factor,” if necessary, to achieve diversity among its student body. The goal of the Big Picture School is to have a diverse student body. Accordingly, to ensure that socioeconomically disadvantaged students have an opportunity to attend Big Picture School, 19 percent of the enrollment positions will be reserved for students who are eligible for free and reduced price meals. Parents may consent to disclose free and reduced price meal eligibility to the district as part of the application process. This consent will be limited to the enrollment process and all information will be held confidential as provided by Federal and State law. Parents may also choose to not provide this consent and their applications will be processed without consideration of socioeconomic status. To ensure geographic representation from across the District (North, South, East and West) all remaining applicants will be put in a random lottery according to the location of their home address. The District will ensure that there is a gender balance of not greater than 10 percent difference among all the names drawn in each lottery. The District may be required to make adjustments to equalize the gender balance to comply with Federal and State law.

Parents may consent to disclose free and reduced price meal eligibility to the district as part of the application process. This consent will be limited to the enrollment process and all information will be held confidential as provided by Federal and State law. Of course, parents may choose not to provide this consent and their applications will be processed without consideration of socioeconomic status.

How many students are admitted to Big Picture each year? How many students will get into Big Picture School each year?

Big Picture School will serve a capacity of 75 students per grade in 6th-11th grade and up to 50 students in 12th grade. As the school grows each year, the capacity will expand to 75 students per grade level.

When will I know if my child is admitted?

The application process for Big Picture School coincides with Bellevue School District’s open enrollment schedule. Lottery results will be emailed in February. Students will have one week from the notification date to solidify their commitment to the school. For students in grades 7-12, once space is available, students will be contacted in the order they appear on the waitlist and offered admission.

Is there a sibling policy?

Yes, we follow the district’s sibling policy which is for resident students only. Please see the admissions procedure for full details. Siblings of students who currently attend BBPS and who will attend together for at least one consecutive year are guaranteed admission for 6th grade if the application is submitted by the January deadline. Failure to submit by this deadline will result in placement on the waitlist. For all other grades, applications submitted by January deadline will place siblings on the top of the waitlist and should spots become available, we will notify families accordingly.

Can interested families come in to tour the school?

We will schedule tour times Feb/March.

Can special education students or English language learners (ELL) apply?

Yes. ELL and special education students may apply through the same process as other students. ELL and special education teachers work with the general education teachers to plan and deliver instruction. There will be time in the schedule devoted to special education students needing specially designed instruction as per their IEP’s. Most often, students with IEP’s are enrolled in special education classes in their goal areas in lieu of electives.

Does Big Picture School serve students with disabilities?

Yes. As a public school within Bellevue School District, Big Picture School does not discriminate against students based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a student with a disability.

Big Picture School will fully implement the IEP or Section 504 Plan for any enrolled student with a disability, and will not condition the admission of a student with disabilities on the student waiving his need for special education or related services; however, Big Picture School is not required to fundamentally alter the nature of its program to meet the needs of a disabled student. For example, Big Picture School provides high school students with classroom instruction 4 days per week and internship experiences 1 day per week. If a student with a disability, even with the provision of special education and related services, is unable to participate in an internship experience, the school will recommend non-admission of the student. Our staff will work closely with each prospective student’s IEP team to determine the appropriate placement and supports.

Will Big Picture School ever recommend non-admission of a disabled student?

Yes, in appropriate circumstances. Whenever placement at Big Picture School is considered for a student with an IEP, an IEP team meeting must be convened to determine whether placement at Big Picture School is appropriate. If an IEP team determines that a student’s individual educational needs cannot be met at Big Picture School (e.g., the student needs a therapeutic placement), Big Picture School will follow the IEP team’s recommendation for non-admission.

What can I do to improve my child’s chance of admission?

Big Picture School makes every attempt to admit all qualified applicants. If you have a special situation that is of concern, we invite you to contact Bethany Spinler, principal, by email at [email protected], or by phone at 425-456-7804.

Does Big Picture School ever revoke an enrolled student’s admission?

Students exhibiting a pattern of failure of the Big Picture Code of Commitment will result in varied interventions up to and including a mutual discussion about appropriateness of placement at this choice school.

What can I do if my child is denied admission or has his or her admission revoked?

A letter of appeal should be prepared and addressed to Bethany Spinler, Big Picture School principal. Bethany will forward your appeal to the appropriate District administrative staff. Include all pertinent information related to the reason for your appeal. Remember to include your full address including zip code, and telephone number(s) where you can be reached. You can expect a response within two weeks.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.