Friday, June 24, 2016

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.

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