Here's What You Need To Bring Summit Learning To Your School
Creating a Summit Learning environment requires a fundamental change to the way teachers and students approach learning, so having enthusiasm and a growth mindset are critical. Everything from grading policies, to weekly schedules, to assessments, to how teachers and students spend their time will need to change to create a successful implementation that empowers teachers to meet the needs of every student.
The program provides free support, tools and professional development to support you through the change management process. The application process is designed to help your grade-level team know if you are prepared for success in implementing Summit Learning. To ensure the entire team is on board, each team member should review the program requirements carefully.
December 8th, 2017
March 6th, 2018
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1. Build Your Team
The first step is to assemble a grade-level team to apply for the program together. A grade-level team consists of the teachers that teach students in all 4 core subjects (i.e., Science, English, Math, History) in a single grade (4-12) as well as the school leader/principal. This arrangement fosters collaboration and support among teachers using a new method for the first time and ensures students have a consistent, cohesive learning experience.
The role of the school leader is to sponsor the program, champion the change management process and engage the parents and community. The technology leader, someone who has the expertise to ensure that the technology requirements are met, will also be part of the application team to ensure the technology is in place to support the implementation.
2. Program Requirements
A. Engage students in projects, which will be assessing students based on the Summit Cognitive Skills Rubric
Cognitive skills are those that apply to every subject area and the real world, such as asking questions, researching, identifying patterns and relationships and speaking and listening. We truly value these skills, and we're serious about assessing them, as well as making them transparent to students, teachers and parents.
Summit developed the Cognitive Skills Rubric built into our Summit Learning Platform in collaboration with the SCALE team at Stanford, whose mission is to improve instruction and learning through the design and development of innovative, educative, state-of-the-art performance assessments and by building the capacity of schools to use these assessments in thoughtful ways, to promote student, teacher and organizational learning. Our rubric is also based on prior learning from the Buck Institute's work in cognitive skill analysis.
The rubric spans 4th grade through pre-professional programs and helps students not only understand how they're doing, but also understand that they can transfer these valuable skills from subject to subject and achieve mastery day-by-day, year-by-year as they work toward college and career readiness.
B. Implement a competency-based progression for students to learn content
As part of the personalized learning model, we give students the freedom to move at their own pace and experience both success and failure. In the Summit Learning platform, students first learn by interacting with content in the Playlist and then prove their knowledge in the Content Assessment.
The Playlist is essentially content arranged in a certain order. Content includes videos, articles and other information. Students make their own decisions about how they want to interact with the content.
Once a student feels they are ready to show what they know, they will request to take an on-demand, proctored Content Assessment. Students must achieve an 80% proficiency on Summit Learning Content Assessments to move forward. If they score below 80%, they return to the same Playlist and continue to learn until they're ready to try a Content Assessment again. (Content Assessments are different each time a student takes them, even when they cover the same content area.)
Putting students in the driver's seat in this way enables teachers to move away from a lecture-oriented classroom environment, and spend more time as a mentor and facilitator, creating small groups to support struggling students, for example, but also letting them be the primary decision-makers in their own learning. Some of our teachers say this approach fundamentally changed they way they approach their day-to-day work-for the better!
C. Assess students in math based on concept units
Concept units are opportunities for students to gain an in-depth understanding of mathematical concepts. The units consist of a collection of backwards-planned, carefully-crafted, cognitively-rigorous rich math tasks. The learning experiences in Concept Units require students to engage in problem solving, reasoning, critical thinking and significant cognitive work. Units will be facilitated by a teacher during the normal math course ("Project Time"); the units will take the place of most of the projects and feel similar in many ways (some projects will remain in the math course). The key difference between the units and projects is that mathematical concepts, not cognitive skills, are the driving force behind the units.
D. Mentor each student in weekly 10-minute, one-on-one check-ins.
A value of personalized learning is that every student is deeply known. One of the ways we make this a reality is ensuring that every student has a mentor they meet with regularly. At Summit, mentors see their mentees every day and for a 10-minute, one-to-one meeting every week.
Mentors commit to providing personalized support and getting to know the students as whole people: academically, socially and emotionally.
The weekly check-in and any other organic mentor support revolve around ensuring that a student's daily actions and current progress are aligned to his or her individual long-term goals and aspirations.
We know that scheduling is a complex process! We've found the key to maintaining these weekly check-ins has been empowering GLTs to manipulate the daily schedule to accommodate mentor time or have a set time blocked out for these mentoring appointments.
E. Adhere to the grading policy, which is based 70% on cognitive skills and 30% on content knowledge.
As an organization, Summit has worked hard to research various grading policies, approaches and opinions on assessment. In 2014, Summit engaged in several comprehensive, organization-wide consensus processes to investigate and research the leading opinions on assessment, survey teachers on their experience and collect opinions from colleges on grading and reporting. As a result, we came to consensus on a grading policy that deeply expresses the values of student growth, growth mindset and focusing on outcomes.
Our grading policy reflects our values, which is why we emphasize cognitive skills over content knowledge. We also want to reflect and honor students' content acquisition and therefore have content contribute 30% of their grades.
The Summit Learning calculates grades, scoring students' cognitive skills scores based on their performance throughout the year, using their highest scores to calculate the grades they receive in each class, recognizing and rewarding them for their best work. For the content knowledge portion, the Summit Learning measures a combination of "Power Focus Areas" (21%) and "Additional Focus Areas" (9%) for each subject, as determined by individual teachers.
F. Teach all core classes as year-long courses or semester courses
Summit Learning encourages teaching all core classes as year-long or semester courses to give students a suggested pacing and sufficient time to work through course material. Schools with shorter length core classes (i.e., Science, English, Math, History) will need to convert them to semester or yearlong courses for participation in Summit Learning. Please let us know if this does not align well with your current scope and sequence for core course offerings while completing your application.
G. Have a grade-level team ensuring that students will learn all 4 core subjects (i.e., Science, English, Math, History) leveraging the Summit Learning approach
We designed Summit Learning to give students the most cohesive personalized learning experience possible. That's why we ask that participating schools choose one, single grade-level (grade 6-10) where you'll implement Summit Learning. This way, students will take ownership of their learning environment in all their core classes at once. It becomes the "new normal," not an isolated experience with one teacher in one class.
A grade-level team consists of the teachers that teach students in all 4 core subjects (i.e., Science, English, Math, History) in a single grade (4-12) as well as the school leader/principal. The GLT arrangement fosters collaboration among teachers using a new method for the first time. We also know the importance of aligning various initiatives to an overarching vision for a school, which is why we ask all Summit Learning teams to include at least one Summit Learning school leader who can sponsor the program, run interference and champion Summit Learning with parents and the wider community.
H. Develop a class schedule that will support the pillars of Summit Learning
In order to implement Summit Learning, schools must identify a way to include three major pillars - projects, competency-based content progression and mentorship - into their weekly schedule. View examples of how schools around the country have created schedules.
I. Administer at least one external assessment to all participating students
External assessments give teachers a window into their students' progress and growth, helping everyone check in on their goals and refine their personalized learning plans. Additionally, one of Summit's goals with Summit Learning is to learn what works and share best practices with the wider education community. We share this information through our own reports on success as well as participation in outside studies on personalized learning. External assessments, those created outside of school-specific contexts, are an important measure that we use to gather data to support all of these things. They include but are not limited to NWEA MAP, ACT, STAAR Test, SRI or a standard state test. If the cost to administer an external assessment prohibits your school from participating, please reach out to us.
3. Technical Requirements
A. Use the Summit Learning Platform as the core instructional tool
The Summit Learning Platform is the backbone of the Summit Learning Program-not just another classroom tool. Developed by teachers, the platform brings personalized learning to classrooms by helping students set both short and long-term goals, track progress, prioritize their work, learn content at their own pace, complete projects that apply newfound knowledge to real-world situations and reflect on what they learned.
Because the platform requires students to become self-directed learners, using it often causes both teachers and students to rethink their approach to the classroom experience. And though the platform complements students' learning experiences, teachers remain firmly at the heart of it. Learning is a human experience, and no software tool should try to change that.
B. Ensure that every student has a laptop or Chromebook with a keyboard
Every Summit Learning student needs his or her own computer with a keyboard. iPads and Android do not meet this requirement. We require this for two reasons: practicality and equity. First, the curriculum for Summit Learning includes writing essays, lab reports and other assignments that involve a lot of typing. Keyboards make that work faster and easier. Second, some students may already have computers at home, but others may not. It's imperative for all students to have access to computers at school and at home.
C. Use Google Chrome browser and G-Suite for Education (Gmail and Google Docs) or Office365
Summit designed the platform to work on Google Chrome. In addition, students and teachers must access it using either Google Education or Office365 accounts. These accounts may be ones they already have or set up specifically to use with the platform.
Please note that we are piloting Office365 integration with the platform in the 2017-18 school year. The full curriculum will be accessible, but a few of the latest curriculum features will likely not be available to Office365 users until the 2018-19 school year.
Some school districts may have have pre-existing agreements with technology companies that constrain internet use to specific browsers or applications. Please check to verify that yours does not.
D. Use Clever or manual enrollment codes to sync student information with the Summit Learning Platform
The Summit Learning Platform offers two options for enrolling students. The first is to sync your student information system (SIS) with the Summit Learning Platform through Clever. Alternatively, you can create your own courses and have students enroll using manual enrollment codes (like Google Classroom).
A bit more about Clever: Clever securely transmits student data from your student information system and keeps educational applications rostered and up-to-date. School districts use Clever because they retain full control of student information and benefit from Clever's industry-leading encryption, which keeps student data private and safe. In the US, one-third of all schools already use Clever. We think it's the best tool available for the job: very secure, easy to set up and use and free for schools.
E. Have sufficient Internet access in every classroom to support full 1:1 computing environment
Each classroom participating in Summit Learning must have sufficient bandwidth to support a room full of students using the platform at the same time. High-quality, symmetrical internet access is essential to ensure a positive experience. We recommend that participating schools have a bandwidth for wide area network access allocation per student of 745 kilobits per student (kbps) to 1.5 megabits per student. We also highly recommend that all Summit Learning schools use enterprise-grade wireless equipment. Home or small-business equipment grade is not up to the task, and will often severely degrade the quality of the student experience.
F. Coordinate with the person who leads the school's student information system
Summit Learning will need to coordinate with the person who leads the school's student information system (SIS).
4. Legal Requirements
A. Sign and abide by Summit's partnership agreement (Note: This must be signed as written.)
The Summit Learning Program is pioneering a new kind of relationship with public schools, which include both charter and district sites. This is a unique partnership between school systems and Summit. In order for it to be strong and supporting, it's important that we detail what we will do together, and what we expect of each other.
Therefore, we require participants to sign a partnership agreement that clearly defines this relationship. A signed agreement is part of your application package, so please arrange to meet with and talk to whoever is in charge of signing contracts like this one for your school.
B. Adhere to Summit's data privacy and security policy
Protecting student data is critical to Summit Learning. Summit has worked with leading US privacy experts to help ensure we protect the information we collect and use it ethically. Your school must commit to following this policy.
Summit will only use student data to maintain and improve the platform, and provide information to teachers, students, parents and other authorized users. Summit will not use personally identifiable information from students' education records for targeted advertising.
5. Apply to the Program
The Summit Learning application is designed to help you understand Summit Learning and create alignment with your team, allowing schools to successfully implement the Summit Learning approach. The application has two rounds.
In Round 1, we ask School Leaders to fill out a school profile and explore the programmatic, technical, and legal components of the Summit Learning Program. After School Leaders submit Round 1, the Summit Learning Team will follow up within 2 business days. Please note that the School Leader who completes Round 1 will be considered the Team Lead for this application, meaning that they will receive communication about the application's status throughout the process.
In Round 2, we ask School Leaders to add the other members of their team, including at least 1 district / CMO Leader who will support your implementation and the teacher(s) who will teach students in Science, English, Math, and History.
Then, each team member will receive instructions to log in to the application portal and complete a section of the application designed to develop their understanding of the Summit Learning Program. After a full team has completed and submitted Round 2, the Summit Learning Team will follow up within 2 business days.