About the Project
Taking service learning to the next level
In 2009 Bryan Halsey, a business teacher at Columbine High School, created a leadership class that included a capstone project: the Big Idea Project.
He knew that leaders are not taught; they are made. He created the Big Idea Project to help students apply their passion to their responsibility to lead others well.
As the Project gained momentum, people outside of Columbine started to get involved. Individuals and companies came together to contribute funding toward the scholarship award and mentor the emerging leaders. On the night of the final presentation hundreds of community members attended to hear of the positive impact young leaders were making. Teachers from other districts attended and asked how they could bring the same opportunities to their students.
And so it happened that Big Idea Project could no longer remain just within Columbine’s walls.
How the Project works
Created by a teacher, for teachers
Teachers know their students best and have more influence than outside program staff ever could. BIP empowers teachers to use their position of influence to provide an unforgettable learning experience.
In the classroom
The Project is designed to fit in pre-existing classes as a cumulative semester-long project. English teachers can focus on themes and writing, marketing teachers on advertising. The options are endless.
Bridging business and education
Teachers build their network and connect with local businesses so they own their relationships with businesses, not BIP. Businesses receive ongoing opportunities to have a real influence in the education of their future leaders.
Growing empathy and skills
The first step to become a generous leader is to think outside of yourself. Leading through the lens of empathy increases the learning and effectiveness of skills like problem solving, communication and team work (to name a few).
Student stories of impact
At the end of the semester students create a storytelling video that chronicles their results. The best way to see what students do through Big Idea Project is to watch what the videos they create.
Project Home was a team that wanted to help with the issue of homelessness. Their results (and cinematography) were impressive.
The power of service learning
Studies show that experiential learning, especially service learning, has a statistically significant and positive effect on student learning outcomes.