Friday, June 24, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Host Live Video at Summit Prep

"Summit has one of the amazing personalized learning models that we've seen." Mark Zuckerberg
In May, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan did a live video stream at Summit Prep, our flagship school in Redwood City, to talk about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s work in education. The aim of the organization is to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research, and energy." We were honored to have them join us at our school. Watch the video clip below of Mark talking about Summit’s personalized learning experience.

Summit Shasta Parent Laura Maloney Talks To Us About Her Son’s Mid-year Move to Shasta

While we often highlight our student and teacher stories, this week we are highlighting one of our parent’s stories. Meet Laura Maloney, who has a 10th grade son, William, at Summit Shasta in Daly Cioty.
What brought you to Summit Shasta and how has your experience been?

He was the one that came to me and told me he wanted to go to Shasta. He really had researched it. We went together to the open house and he switched in January on pretty short notice.

I have to admit that I was worried about the flexibility he’d have in a personalized learning environment. As a parent, it’s very hard to trust that your student is going to do what he has to do - especially when the structure is less “traditional”. It’s just hard to trust that process, so when my son said he wanted to switch schools because he wasn’t learning the way he wanted to, I was nervous.

I’ve been blown away with his progress - he’d caught up on the first semester within the first eight weeks. He’s been super positive about working on his own pace.

How has your son grown?

I have noticed him taking responsibility for personal growth. I really like the mentoring program because it’s one thing hearing something from your parent over and over again, but hearing it in school gives him responsibility for any changes he makes. Today, he’s a more independent learner - he understands the choices he’s making and has clear goals. 

I really think the Summit model prepares students for challenges you encounter in the real world. If you are going to fail, it’s a safe place for students to do it. They’ve plenty of support and it’s important for them to gain the skills that help them learn how to try something, fail at it, improve and then succeed at it. Learning at your own pace enables students to do that - it’s not as it used to be when students would take an exam, fail, but then have to move on with the rest of the class.

What are you most happy with?

The way the school has been able to empower him to take responsibility for his own learning, in a way that’s difficult for a parent to do. We all have our ups and downs and different motivations in life, and we don’t always move along at a steady pace  - giving students choices and flexibility in their educationhelps prepare them for the real world. In a traditional school setting, you don’t have that. 

I also love that he can get his work done without having to come home with 5 hours of homework. I think it’s important for students to pursue passions and have a life outside of school. His Personalized Learning Plan allows him that flexibility.

A Step-By-Step Look into Project Time by Stanford Professor, Larry Cuban

Stanford University professor emeritus, Larry Cuban, has written a multi-part blog post series about Summit schools called Summit Teachers Integrating Technology. Professor Cuban is a self-proclaimed skeptic of technology in the classroom, but has decided to shift his focus to writing about the "best case of [technology] use in districts and classroom.” That is why he decided to observe several Summit classrooms at Summit Prep (Redwood City) and Summit Rainier (San Jose). 

Dr. Cuban has published 8 detailed reports covering different courses, carefully detailing out lesson plans and student and teacher interactions. It’s exciting to see a skeptic thinking differently about technology in the classroom and better understanding how it enhances a personalized learning model. This is in large part to the great work that our teachers are doing in their classrooms. 

Read Professor Cuban’s blog series below and get a step-by-step lookinto Project Time at Summit schools. 

Part 1: Biology with Catherine Clausen
Part 2: History with Chris Kelly 
Part 3: Pre-Calculus with Ethan Edwards
Part 4: World Studies with Aukeem Ballard
Part 5: World Studies (2) with Katie Goddard 
Part 6: Chemistry with Edward Lin
Part 7: AP U.S. History with Edwin Avarca 
Part 8: 9th Grade English with Anne Giocondini

Summit Denali student wants a swim team– she starts one.

Sarah, a seventh grader at Summit Denali, always wanted to be on a swim team. Since area middle schools didn’t have swim teams, Sarah realized it would be two years until she could race for her school. Sarah didn’t want to wait. Instead, she did what any determined and enterprising student would do – she decided to start her own swim team at Summit Denali.

Sarah, whose father Geoff is an avid swimmer, asked him to help her start the team. Working closely with the school and parents, Geoff and Sarah rallied supporters until they had 25 swimmers in 6th through 8th grade willing to attend 6:30 a.m. practices, participate in joint carpools and pitch in to host a meet. Summit Denali finally had its swim team.
“The swim team was just a dream, but after talking about it with my dad and principal, I realized that it wasn’t going to be as hard as I thought,” Sarah said. “There were other students who wanted to do it too, and now they’re my friends.”
Throughout the season, Sarah saw her swimming improve, shaving off a critical three seconds from her 25-yard lap by December. Geoff, who coached the team with Kristy, worked hard to secure practice facilities, organize rides to and from the pool in the early morning and schedule meets against swim clubs in the area. In December, the Summit Denali team hosted a meet where they placed second.

“In our first year, our students grew to become strong swimmers,” said Geoff. “Their hard work and dedication showed in the water and I’m thankful that Summit let us give kids another option for recreation. It’s through swimming that Sarah has made new friends, and I believe the added practice and exercise will give her and her teammates a greater ability to focus in school.”