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  • Gary Hook

Advisory Spotlight: Building a Healthy Life with Nashville Big Picture High School

Nashville Big Picture High School is rooted in love with a culture of kindness. Since 2007, the school has helped students pursue their passions to college and beyond.

Over the last school year, Big Picture Nashville has worked to integrate the Big Picture Living program through student-led initiatives, virtual student-led Pick Me Ups, writing workshops, and yoga/mindfulness sessions. The school has used Big Picture Learning’s Personal Qualities learning goals as part of this work.

We touched base with Gary Hook, assistant principal at NBPHS, and to share how the Big Picture Living program is working at his school and to offer ideas on how to begin.

“Use what you have, connect with your community, launch initiatives through advisory, and invest time to create interesting marketing graphics,” Hook says.

Continue reading to learn more!

Q: We all have to start somewhere, how did your healthy living journey with students begin?

We have always sought to serve the Whole Student. For us, we have used the Personal Qualities learning goals to try and reinforce healthy habits. BP Living has provided a language and a structure to bring various practices together under one initiative.

Here are a few things we have prioritized over the last year:

Social – Love in a Big World – This is a student-led initiative where freshmen and seniors connect and meet once a week. Student mentors work with our community partner, Love in a Big World to use poetry as a medium to connect and build character. This space gives students an opportunity to connect and relate to one another around their unique perspectives and experience, and serves as a place of community and connection.

Chill – We virtually host monthly student-led Pick Me Ups, where we consistently have well over 100 participants. Students show up, share, participate, and we award our “Student Champion Awards'' to 1 student per grade level. Also, grade-level teams host student-led Pick Me Ups every month where all advisors from each grade level get together and connect for a good time once a month. Students show up, share, participate, and celebrate one another. Lastly, we host a writer’s workshop with a community partner, Southern Word. Students meet up with a mentor and write about themes and topics that they find interesting, and even hosted a Poetry SLAM on March 8, 2021.

Move – We prioritize movement by allotting 20 minutes per day for physical activity for all advisories. There are a variety of things happening, virtually and in-person (including virtual dance sessions using Youtube tutorials, Yoga, Gym Time, and virtual Calisthenics). We partnered with a community organization to launch a virtual Yoga/Mindfulness session that happens each day from 2:10-2:30.

Q: What worked and what didn’t?

Any initiative that we connected to advisory was successful. We learned early on that launching in advisory yields better participation, buy-in, and connection. Advisory is the nucleus of our design and students always show up in this space, whether in-person or virtual; we use advisory as the starting point for healthy living initiatives.

Q: Can you share a breakthrough/ aha moment?

We held a virtual Kick Me Out session on a Friday, where only 20 students showed up. We were used to having well over 100 participants when launching from advisory, so we quickly realized the best way to connect students to various virtual activities was to meet in advisory and then jump into the activity.

In the middle of August, we held our first student-led Pick Me Up session. It was electric. Junior student, Jehlin Hayes, led a game of music trivia and the chat blew up; there was lots of connection, giggles, and high energy. We realized in order to turn things up a notch, we needed to connect with students - plan, support, get out of the way and let them lead. Since then, we have held 5 student-led Pick Me Ups – Music Trivia, Scary Movie Trivia, Black History Kahoot, and A Holiday Game Show.

How is your school using the 6 measures? We would love to spotlight your advisory on our blog. Send an email to Isary at to learn more.

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