Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Glimpse into an Algebra 2 Class

Mr. Tran teaches 10th grade Algebra 2 at one of Summit’s Redwood City schools, Everest, and one of his projects this year was Setting Up Sprinklers. In this project, students used mathematical models to propose placements of sprinklers to maximize the amount of grass that gets watered. What a key skill to learn with California’s drought! He’s excited that “this project gets students to think deeply about what it means to defend their argument using mathematics.”

Watch an engaging glimpse into Mr. Tran’s class and learn more about the project!

LearnStorm Grand Finale Recognizes Summit Student Achievement

After months of heated competition, Khan Academy's LearnStorm challenge finally came to a close. During the final event on Google's campus, students from Summit Prep, Tahoma, and Denali were split into teams to test the skills they have been developing throughout the competition.

Over 76,000 students participated in LearnStorm, and more than 50% of Bay Area schools took part. Out of all these competitors, Erin from Summit Prep took 1st place among all juniors in the competition! Jocelyn and Emma from Summit Prep also took 3rd and 2nd place, respectively, among all seniors in the competition. Eleven other representatives from Summit Prep, Denali, and Tahoma also did a great job at representing Summit throughout the day! 

Kai, from Summit Denali, was excited to take part in the day's events and said it was, " awesome experience to be at the first ever Khan Academy Learnstorm event."

Summit's high participation rate in LearnStorm earned a special shout-out from Sal Khan at the closing ceremony. Other Summit schools have received similar recognition for their achievements throughout the competition, including a technology grant awarded to K2, and Denali claiming the Monthly Hustle Cup in March. Congratulations to all LearnStorm participants, including their teachers and mentors who supported their students every step of the way!

Summit Prep and Everest Named Top Schools in the United States and California

We are proud to share that U.S. News & World Report named two of our schools, Summit Prep and Summit Everest, among the Best High Schools of 2015. They are also ranked among the top 20 high schools in California. This comes on the heels of both schools being ranked by the Washington Post among its 2015 America's Most Challenging High Schools.

We are incredibly honored by all the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, and parent community. We look forward to all Summit schools joining these ranks as they become fully enrolled!

U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools of 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What Makes a Great Teacher? Summit Teachers Share

Our teachers are the backbone and the heart of our schools. They work tirelessly to ensure that each student is reaching their potential, is individually supported, is deeply learning and engaged, as well as building authentic and meaningful relationships. And, they do this with care, compassion, commitment and, simply love. 

They also have a passion for the craft of teaching. They work hard at becoming a better teacher, mentor, leader, and thoughtful, contributing member of society. They dedicate themselves to individually supporting and understanding each student both inside and outside the classroom. And, they leave a lasting impression on their students, truly helping to make the world a better place one student at a time.

In honor of our amazing teachers and this week’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our teachers “What Makes A Great Teacher?” Here's what they have to say. These statements embody what our teachers are doing each and every single day.

“Love. Deep, critical love. Love so deep and critical that you see students and say to yourself, 'how can we do and be better for you today in order to achieve your dreams?'”
-Aukeem Ballard, Summit Prep

“A great teacher values taking the time to build relationships with students. In order to figure out how students learns best, teachers need to know what motivates them, how they handle stress and setbacks, what they like and don’t like about school or the course, and how they are impacted by their learning environment. Learning these things about a student takes patience and involves building a lot of trust, but the impact it has on knowing how to support each student in the classroom is REALLY exciting.”
-Katie Goddard, Summit Rainier

"You love your students, you always do what's best for them and never stop improving on your practice."
- Brian Johnson, Summit Denali

“A great teacher is one who can make mistakes in front of the students and is real with them. This teacher encourages building authentic community in the classroom and values where each students comes from.“
- Nanor Balabanian, Everest

“A great teacher is someone who is passionate, committed, and able to roll with the punches. A great teacher is passionate about the subject and skills they teach and is able to make it engaging for students to become just as invested in the subject matter as they are. A great teacher is also incredibly committed to his/her students. They take the time to learn about the whole child, not just how they are as a student in their class. A great teacher is flexible and always finds a learning opportunity in even the toughest situation.”
- Shilpa Duvoor, Summit K2

“Great teachers aren't made. Great teachers are in the making. They, like their students, are constantly learning, changing, and growing. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite coaches sums it all up: "No written word, no spoken plea, Can teach our youth what they should be. Nor all the books on all the shelves, It's what the teachers are themselves," by John Wooden.
- Erica Baba, Everest

“A great teacher is passionate about both the social-emotional development and academic growth of students. A great teacher collects and uses a ton of data to inform practice, but remembers that at the end of the day the work is with individuals and it is the individual that matters. A great teacher has a hunger for searching out and implementing the best research based practices that she can find.”
- Ron Delaney, Summit Denali

“I believe that a great teacher is able to efficiently and accurately assess individual student's developmental needs and then through strategic lessons, encouragement, and support, works like mad to meet the specific needs of the students.”
- Rick LaTorra, Summit Shasta

“True learning can only be accomplished when content and projects can resonate deeply with students on a personal level. A great teacher both understands that and works actively to encourage students to make those connections. This teacher is one who creates the safest, most inclusive environment for learning by acknowledging the unique perspective of a diverse group of learners. Through this trusting and safe classroom, this teacher allows opportunities for students to not only grow and develop academically, but also to develop pride in their cultural background and personal story."
- Cady Ching, Summit Prep

"A great teacher ensures that the teaching and learning taking place in the classroom extend beyond the four walls of institutionalized education, so that students can become effective agents of change in their own lives and the lives of their family and community. A great teacher has the ability to empower others with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed within the larger sociopolitical contexts. A great teacher has the unique opportunity to positively influence our youth, which in turn positively influences our collective future."
- Julio Navarate, Summit Tahoma

Summit’s Celebrates Over 99% of Graduating Seniors Accepted to a 4-Year University on National College Signing Day

Summit Public Schools is thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of our four graduating high school classes, where over 99 percent of seniors have been accepted to at least one four-year college! We are especially excited for our San Jose high schools, Summit Rainier and Summit Tahoma, who will have their first graduating class this year.

On Friday, May 1st seniors from across our high schools shared their college aspirations as part of the White House’s National College Signing Day. As part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher InitiativeSummit's celebration on Friday encouraged all graduating seniors to sign a pledge to invest in their education beyond high school, drive their own learning and success, and become thoughtful, contributing members of society.

Many Summit students overcame strong obstacles to reach this point, with nearly half of our graduating seniors the first in their family to attend college. Sofia Canela Torres, who will graduate from Summit Tahoma, is bound for Mills College this fall. “Even though I will be the first in my family to go to college, I am confident that I will succeed because of all that I learned at Summit, and through everything my teachers at Summit did to prepare me for this next step,” said Torres. “Everyone in my family is so proud of me and we are all so excited for me to start college.”

This year, our students have been accepted to an incredible variety of colleges across the nation. Many have options to stay close to home in California, including all the California State Universities, University of California Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Davis, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University. While others may be headed east to Duke University, Syracuse University, Boston University, or Washington University.

We wish all of our seniors the best of luck as they embark on their college journey. When obstacles appear on this winding path, we know our students will have the skills to preserve through all challenges that come their way!