Lin­coln Schools Im­ple­ment New Cur­ricu­lum Pro­gram


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

LIN­COLN — On the out­side, Lin­coln High School and Lin­coln Mid­dle School look the same. But on the in­side, teach­ers and staff are us­ing a new cur­ricu­lum that per­son­al­izes learn­ing for each stu­dent and pairs stu­dents with a men­tor or ad­vi­sor to help them stay on track.

In the past, the schools have used sev­eral pro­grams to meet their needs and their goals.

The plat­form Sum­mit Learn­ing has ev­ery­thing in one place, said Court­ney Jones, high school prin­ci­pal.

“We have been look­ing for a cur­ricu­lum that per­son­al­izes learn­ing and is rig­or­ous for the stu­dents,” Jones said. “Sum­mit Learn­ing does all this in one place. It pro­vides re­sources for teach­ers, is rig­or­ous for stu­dents and al­lows stu­dents to get help as needed or move ahead to other ar­eas.”

Jones first heard about Sum­mit Learn­ing from the prin­ci­pal at Siloam Springs High School. Lin­coln sent two teach­ers to a pre­sen­ta­tion in Siloam Springs and both came back say­ing they liked the pro­gram and thought it would work in Lin­coln.

Jones and Michele Price, mid­dle school prin­ci­pal, then went to pre­sen­ta­tions on Sum­mit Learn­ing and the de­ci­sion was made to im­ple­ment it for the 2018-19 school year.

Price ex­plained that Sum­mit is ac­tu­ally a school in Cal­i­for­nia with its own build­ings, own cur­ricu­lum and teach­ers. A prin­ci­pal in Cal­i­for­nia wanted to per­son­al­ize learn­ing for her stu­dents and be­gan work­ing to­ward that goal.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sum­mit Learn­ing web­site, more than 72,000 stu­dents, 3,800 teach­ers and 380 schools in 38 states are now part of the Sum­mit Learn­ing com­mu­nity.

Sum­mit Learn­ing has three com­po­nents: men­tor­ing, cog­ni­tive skills and habits of suc­cess.

Jones said the plat­form has ev­ery­thing Lin­coln needs for in­struc­tion and stu­dents. The pro­gram has re­sources and lessons for teach­ers, hands-on projects, assess­ments or tests and al­lows stu­dents to be self-directed and work at their own pace.

For ex­am­ple, Price said, a stan­dard is taught to stu­dents. Some get it and some don’t. Those who need ex­tra help can meet in small groups or one-on-one with a teacher or an­other stu­dent dur­ing per­son­al­ized learn­ing time. Those who mas­tered the stan­dard can delve deeper into the sub­ject through on­line re­sources.

Years ago, this time for more work and for help was called “Study Hall,” Price said.

“In this case, per­son­al­ized learn­ing time is where they can get sup­port for help they need or where they can be chal­lenged to move on,” Price added.

At the mid­dle school, stu­dents have reg­u­lar classes Mon­day through Thurs­day. On Fri­day, stu­dents meet with their men­tors or ad­vi­sors and have per­son­al­ized learn­ing time.

The high school em­beds its per­son­al­ized learn­ing time through­out the school day, Jones said. Stu­dents still go to class but they’ll have ad­vi­sory and men­tor­ing time ev­ery day. They may meet in small groups dur­ing the reg­u­lar class­room time.

At the high school, 9th and 10th grades are in­volved in the Sum­mit Learn­ing pro­gram for their core classes - so­cial stud­ies, sci­ence, math and English. The plan is to add 8th grade and 11th grade in 2019-20 and 12th grade in 2020-21.

At the mid­dle school, fifth-seventh grades are part of Sum­mit Learn­ing. The school will add fourth grade to Sum­mit Learn­ing in 201920.

All grades, how­ever, are in­volved in the ad­vi­sory and men­tor­ing part of the pro­gram.

Jones ac­knowl­edges it is a shift in learn­ing.

Stu­dents set their own sched­ules for the week as far as their goals and men­tors work with them on meet­ing those goals.

As an ex­am­ple, when study­ing read­ing strate­gies, stu­dents first take a pre-test af­ter the les­son and that lets them know if they are ready for the as­sess­ment or need to work on it some more. If they need more work, Sum­mit Learn­ing pro­vides re­sources the stu­dents can go to be­fore tak­ing their test.

They also work on projects that go with the con­tent and the ob­jec­tive of the les­son.

An­other ben­e­fit of the pro­gram is that teach­ers can pull up a stu­dent’s data and look at how he or she is do­ing on all the stan­dards. To mas­ter a skill or les­son, a stu­dent has to make 80 per­cent or bet­ter on the as­sess­ment be­fore they can move on. The pro­gram al­lows any teacher or ad­min­is­tra­tor at the school to see how any stu­dent is do­ing.

“The data tells us where the gaps are and then lists re­sources that stu­dents can go to for help on those gaps,” Price said.

An­other part of Sum­mit Learn­ing is that par­ents can sign up to see their child’s progress. Par­ents signed up will re­ceive text mes­sages dur­ing the week with re­minders about what’s go­ing on. For in­stance, if a child has a project due, the text will tell the par­ent about the project and then sug­gest a few ques­tions that the par­ent can ask their child about the project.

Par­ents also have ac­cess to re­sources and they can watch videos or go to other sites to help their child in any prob­lem ar­eas.

Price said this is an­other way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with our par­ents.

“I’ve never had a pro­gram where you get so much in­for­ma­tion on where your kids are and gives them re­sources to help them. It’s amaz­ing. It’s the best thing I’ve seen in years,” Jones said.

Price added that she has stu­dents at the mid­dle school who have al­ready fin­ished their work for the year in one core area and they are be­ing chal­lenged in other ways.

Two high school stu­dents asked about the pro­gram said they like it, though they ad­mit it’s a lot more in­volved than what they’ve done in the past.

The one dif­fer­ence, said 10th-grader Audie Ramsey, is that he has to work to keep up with all that’s go­ing on.

“I have to stay on top of my work,” Ramsey said.

He likes Sum­mit Learn­ing be­cause the pro­gram is split into steps and each as­sign­ment has re­sources avail­able to help him un­der­stand the les­son or stan­dard.

Han­nah Noyce, also a 10th-grader, said her grades are bet­ter this year and she at­tributes that to Sum­mit Learn­ing. She said she has to be more or­ga­nized with the new pro­gram but it also en­cour­ages her to “dig deeper” into what the class is learn­ing.

Jones said “100 per­cent” of the stu­dents com­plained at the first of the year about Sum­mit Learn­ing. The most com­mon com­plaint was that stu­dents said they did not have any down time be­cause “there was al­ways some­thing to do next.”

Mas­ter Teacher Sarah Sim­mons said Sum­mit Learn­ing is “just a dif­fer­ent way of learn­ing” that is more rig­or­ous and places more re­spon­si­bil­ity onto the stu­dents.



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