About Beacon

Beacon Academy is a public charter school for 7th through 12th grade students who would benefit from a non-traditional way of earning their high school diploma. As a public school, there is no tuition to attend Beacon and students earn an Indiana accredited diploma just like they would earn in a traditional school. Beacon Academy is open to any student who lives in the state of Indiana and can attend the campus located in West Lafayette.

Beacon is a Big Picture Learning school. The Big Picture design was created by visionaries Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, with the first Big Picture school, The Providence Metropolitan Center ("The Met"), which opened in 1995. There are currently 119 Big Picture schools world-wide, and Beacon Academy is the only BP school currently operating in Indiana. Big Picture Learning schools have the following distinguishing characteristics in common:

Ten Distinguishers of Big Picture Schools

1. Learning in the real world

Internships two days a week plus a variety of other real world experiences as a different way to earn credits


2. One student at a time personalization

Individualized learning plans taking each student’s interests into consideration in determining the work to be done to earn an Indiana accredited diploma


3. Authentic assessment

Exhibitions of student work where we learn from each other; in-depth understanding of learning


4. School organization

Small by design—no more than 60 students admitted to the school—15:1 student/teacher ratio


5. Advisory structure

Work with the same teacher and students daily and for multiple years—no switching classrooms!


6. School culture

Take responsibility for your own learning and become invested in your own education


7. Leadership

Become a leader


8. Parent/family engagement-adult support


9. School-college partnership


10 Professional development

The mission of Beacon Academy is to assist middle and high school students who are educationally at-risk achieve their full potential and, as a result, to strengthen the Greater Lafayette community. This will be accomplished by operating a school in which each student is an active participant in his or her own education. Students work with advisors, parents, and community mentors to create Individual Learning Plans that are focused on that student’s particular interests, aligned with state academic standards, and where academic learning in the classroom is integrated with applied experiences in the community.