Key Coverage

An Unprecedented Partnership

Tymeer Washington held a gold marker above his white mug and considered his identity. After a moment, he drew his name in silver and gold next to a large “24.” “It’s where I’m from,” Washington explained. “24th and Lehigh.”

The 18 students in Danina Garcia’s class at the brand new Vaux Big Picture High School will start each school day with these mugs in their 90-minute advisory period, drinking hot chocolate or tea. It is a chance for students and their adviser, who are expected to stay together for all four years, to bond with each other.

This new school is an experiment, an unprecedented partnership between the Philadelphia School District and the city’s Housing Authority, as well as the teachers’ union and Big Picture Learning, a national organization known for anchoring high school education in students’ interests and career goals.