From Alternative to Passion and Purpose with Sara Mounsey
March 16, 2021
student-driven learning

Today, many schools still focus on deficit learning, measuring students by a perceived lack instead acknowledging their inherent strengths.

The problem is not the students. The problem is an outdated educational system. With a renewed focus on finding personal purpose, supportive relationships, and a broader perspective of the world, we change the world we live in by changing the way we approach teaching our students.

Today’s guest, Sara Mounsey of Big Picture Learning, talks about her school’s transition from content-driven to student-driven, how a human-centered approach to education creates lifelong learners, and how Leaving-to-Learn programs empower students in the “real world.”

About Sara Mounsey:

As one of two Big Picture Learning high school leaders in the Methow Valley School District, Sara Mounsey helped transform a content-driven learning model into a student-driven one, where students are actively engaged in internships and passion projects.

Jump Through the Conversation

[1:48] Defining Big Picture Learning
[6:05] Practicing accountability
[9:12] “Leaving to Learn” activities
[14:14] Two internship transformation stories
[21:41] Evolution towards engaged, high school learning
[29:16] Sara’s Magic Wand: Districts creating high schools where every student has a caring mentor, equitable opportunities, potential realized, and leadership experiences.
[30:33] Maureen’s hope that we can redefine academic success and transform high schools.

Links and Resources:

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.

Latest Episodes

Unlocking the World of Literacy with Marnie Ginsburg

Reading is simple, right? Not for everyone, and it’s especially challenging for those who don’t have access to all the tools and resources they need to be successful. This week we hear from Marnie Ginsburg, founder of Reading Simplified, who has dedicated her career...

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

The further away administrators get from their roots as teachers, the more they forget what it’s like to be in the trenches. The result is often either a real or perceived lack of empathy for teachers. Both teachers and administrators have vital roles in the school,...

Following the Evidence for Effective Policy with Darleen Opfer

We all want what’s best for our learners, but oftentimes biases get in the way of having productive conversations about what learning should look like in the classroom. Instead, we need to have evidence- and research-based conversations that support what truly works...

Latest Blog Posts

Why Isn’t Educational Change Happening?

School change is so much harder than I thought! When I did my doctoral research on school innovation and created a hands-on learning school-within-a-school in the 90s, I had no idea that I’d spend the next few decades making tiny changes. Changes that often...

Instilling a Practice of Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Thanksgiving looks different this year. Traditions are being shattered in 2020 and new realities are emerging. Thanksgiving is no exception. After Canada’s Thanksgiving in October, COVID statistics jumped, reminding us that, sadly, the pandemic isn’t taking a break...

Building Interdisciplinary Learning into Traditional Classrooms

A traditional classroom setting is just that...traditional. Teachers must teach specific subjects for a required amount of time, often using prescribed curriculum materials that may be a decade old. There’s little consideration for the individual learner--their...


Coming Soon!


Listen to Education Evolution on Apple Podcasts
Listen to Education Evolution on Spotify
Listen to Education Evolution on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play Music

Related Posts

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

This week on the podcast, we’re welcoming back author and educator Miriam Plotinsky. She’s sharing about her latest book, Lead Like a Teacher, and talking about what school leaders can do to build more trust and a more collaborative school environment.

Sign Up for Podcast & Blog Announcements
and Get our Free Guide:
Five Interdependent Hacks to Lead the Creation of a Learner-Centered Culture!

By providing your email address you are agreeing to receive email communications from Education Evolution.
You can unsubscribe at any time.