Summit Public Schools

Summit Public Schools

At Summit Public Schools, students drive their own learning by tracking progress on projects and playlists.

State: California Number of Students: 2,293
School Type: Charter Management Org   Free and Reduced Lunch: 51.2%
Grade Level: 6-12 English Language Learners: 11.6%

School Context

College and Career Readiness: The network aims to support students in preparing for success in college, careers andlife. To do this they maintain high expectations across all schools through intensive mentoring and goal setting withstudents.

High Performing Teachers: The network’s first focus is to support learning for teachers. Summit’s teachers receive over 40 days of professional development each year. They are also involved in a peer mentoring program that gives them theability to observe each other and act as resources for mutual growth.

Developing Relationships: Summit aims to build genuine trusting relationships and a transparent environment acrossall its schools. To do this it surveys students regularly to provide space for them to share their opinions. It also supports mentoring programs and a culture of mutual respect between students and teachers.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: The network is not afraid of change. It regularly uses research, data and on-the-ground experiences to understand what’s working and make changes to its model.

State of Technology

Summit Style: At Summit, instead of teaching content knowledge andcognitive skills (such as inquiry, listening and analysis) together in a single class, students tackle these skills separately. Through subject-specific projects, students focus on learning cognitive skills. They are given separate time to tackle playlists of content knowledge associated with that project. Students learn this content in their own way and at their own pace by utilizing playlists of resources to learn the content on their own. Students also engage in expeditions for eight weeks a year. During expeditions theyare immersed in experiences such as internships, visual and performing arts, photography, computer science, robotics and community service. Students learn “habits of success” woven throughout learning classroom experiencesand intensive mentoring programs. Through the mentoring program, students practice goal setting, make plans to achieve those goals and reflecton their progress.

Evolving Model: While Summit has always had deep roots in a project-based learning model, the network began to incorporate blended learning in 2011. They started with a traditional rotation model in math classes. Students would spend 1/3 of their time with the teacher, 1/3 of their time in a groupand 1/3 of their time on Khan Academy practicing skills. After two years of regular iteration on the model, Summit settled on the current model.

Building It On Their Own: Finding a lack of tools that allowed students to track and build pathways to learn content knowledge, the network built a homegrown tool called the Personal Learning Plan in 2013. In 2014, thenetwork partnered with Facebook build the PLP into a one-stop shop for playlists of content and assessments that other schools could access andimplement. The PLP tool has become integral to their Basecamp program.

PLP: The Personalized Learning Plan enables students to drive their own learning so they can track progress on projects and playlists. Students starton their dashboard where they can track the status of their current projects, which content skills they’ve mastered and their personal goals. Students can check which knowledge standards they have yet to master for the year, and can access teacher-developed playlists and on-demand assessmentsassociated with those standards directly through the PLP.

Sharing With Others: Summit launched Basecamp in late 2014, selecting 19 partner schools (including 15 districts and four charter schools), toparticipate in the inaugural cohort of the program. The Basecamp programgives partner schools access to the PLP, along with coaching and mentoring from Summit staff on how to implement a Summit-like model in theirschools. Summit shared best practices, playlists, projects and assessments with participants of Basecamp. Each school partner chooses at least onegrade level (grades 6-10) team of at least four teachers to pilot the PLP and Summit’s curriculum so that the work could become the “new normal” for that grade, rather than an isolated experience with one teacher. Summit’s school leaders hope to learn how to support implementation and adoptionin schools other than their own. The 19 original schools will continue toparticipate for the 2016-2017 school year. Additionally, 100 new schools willjoin the program starting with professional development in summer 2016 and launching Summit’s model for personalized learning in fall 2016.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Technology tools must be web-based, provide access to student data, be aligned to Summit’s mission and interested informing strong partnerships. The district wants high quality, modular, unbundled content.


Adult PLP: The network is currently working on developing a dashboard for adult learning that mirrors the PLP experience for students so that professional development approaches mirror the approach to student learning.

Basecamp: Summit launched their Basecamp Program in late 2014 to enable and empower Next Generation schoolmodels across the U.S., as well as build a national cohort of public schools grounded in this common initiative. Summit Basecamp launched its first cohort in summer 2015 with a collection of 19 schools including 15 public schools and four charter schools. These 19 schools will continue using the model, while over 100 new schools will join the program insummer 2016.

*Content From 2016

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