Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Students Hold Congressional Hearings

What makes an effective legislator? What outside influences affect the legislative process? Our 12th graders are getting a glimpse into the process by participating in a mock congressional hearing in AP Government, which every 12th grade student takes at Summit.

All of our projects are designed to engage students in real-world problem-solving and experiences. They are learning how committee rules, party seniority, lobbyists, and the media’s effect on public opinion all have a profound impact on whether a bill ever becomes the supreme law of the land. Every student has a role in this hearing as a congressperson, congressional witness, lobbyist, or media reporter, and must research their assigned role so that they can play their part. They are learning how all of these key players work together and/or block each other similar to our current Congress.


Mr. Quezada’s AP Government class at Summit Rainier

Summit Named Top 10 Most Innovative Organization in Education!

“All told, the network’s influence far outstrips its growing footprint of nine schools”

We are thrilled to share that Summit Public Schools was selected as one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Education! Fast Company is one of the world's leading media publications, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership, and design. This award recognizes organizations that exemplify the best in education and innovation across the globe based on the research of Fast Company editors over many months. Summit’s model was recognized for our phenomenal teachers, thoughtful approach to using technology, Expeditions program and our commitment to sharing with our peers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Welcome Future College Graduates!

This fall Summit Public Schools will open its first doors in Washington state! This fall was the first year a charter school opened its doors in Washington state, and Summit along with eight other charter schools will open in fall 2015. We are incredibly excited to be at the forefront of the movement towards bringing school choice to families in Washington.

Malia Burns and Gina Wickstead, Executive Directors of Summit Sierra (Seattle) and Olympus (Tacoma), respectively, have been hosting events in the community throughout the year. Last week, Gina welcomed hopeful future Summit families to dinner. Afterwards, families joined two other charters in Tacoma for a skate night with a total of 310 people in attendance! The students below (lottery pending) may be some of Olympus' first!

Students Teach Each Other About Cell Phones, Internet, and Radio

Electromagnetic waves are everywhere! From cell phones, to the internet, to microwave ovens, electromagnetic waves are a critical part of our everyday lives. One of the projects our 10th graders recently worked on is the Electromagnetic (EM) Wave Applications Research Video project for Physics. In this project, students are educating each other about the many uses of electromagnetic waves, including:

  • How does your cell phone transmit your voice? 
  • How does your microwave heat food? 
  • How does your remote control work? 

After researching their chosen topic, interpreting the data, and forming a thesis, each student ultimately created and presented to their class an educational video of what they learned, showcasing their interest and creativity.

Learn more about the project and why it’s one of his favorites from Mr. Dowe at Summit Tahoma in San Jose. All of Summit's projects across all of our courses are designed collaboratively by our own teachers. 

“I always learn a little bit of something from these videos even though I teach the content and the material…It gives students a chance to show who they are in the video.” Mr. Dowe, Summit Tahoma Physics teacher

Learn more about electromagnetic waves in our students' playlists:
Electromagnetic Radiation
Applications of Electromagnetic Waves

STEM Education at Summit

"... Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today—especially in science, technology, engineering and math." President Barack Obama, September 16, 2010

There are many acronyms in education, and one that you may have heard of is STEM. STEM simply stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.

Because knowledge as well as application of STEM is becoming increasingly necessary for 21st century careers, Summit focuses on STEM through both our Project Time classes as well as Expedition electives, such as with Design Engineering, Music Studio Production, and Computer Science. In our classes, students get a chance to tackle some of the real-world problems they would face in their careers. For example, our 7th graders had their chemical engineer hats on and just finished designing an innovative product for their clients. One client had athletes suffering from heat exhaustion and needed a way to keep them cool. Another client needed a heating device to make the arduous climb up Mt. Shasta.

Below, students at Summit K2 in Richmond, CA are presenting their thoughtful designs. Go Summit K2 Dragons!

Check out some interesting careers in STEM from robotics engineers to crime scene investigators, and explore PBS' STEM Resources for engaging STEM activities.