In 2000, A Group Of Parents From Silicon Valley Asked:

“WHAT HAPPENED?” WHAT HAPPENED
TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL?
AND WHAT CAN WE DO TO FIX IT?

Katie Goddard

Summit Rainier
San Jose, California

Subject: World History

Education: MA, Stanford Teacher Education Program
BA, Education Studies, Public Policy and American Institutions, Brown University

WHO WE ARE • TEACHERS » Katie Goddard

Why teach and why history?

I teach because I want students to use their voice. I want them to know how to communicate, how to argue and how to get people to listen to what they have to say. History within the Summit model provides an opportunity for me to do this. In the history classroom, you can look at what has happened from multiple different perspectives, talk about how others have affected change or not, and be inspired to apply these lessons to your life.

Why Summit?

When I was looking for a teaching position, I knew I wanted a place where there was an emphasis on mentoring, where my administration would be in my classroom all the time, and where I wouldn't be teaching “in a silo.” Summit  does all of these things and consciously works to do them well.

What makes Summit different from traditional environments?

I love figuring out what it is about each student that makes them want to go to school and learn, and I don’t think that’s always evident in schools across the country. Summit’s model affords me the time, space and creativity to be able to get to know my students well and then help them tailor projects to their interests. For example, instead of having students write an essay about a the French Revolution, I can think about what I know about their writing skills, ask them which revolution they are interested in studying, and then tailor the project to both of those factors - their interests and their current skill level. That’s way more exciting for a student than my telling them what to write. “One size fits all lessons” don’t make sense for the reality of the unique mix of students in my classroom, and the Summit model allows me to be responsive.  

How does Summit support you professional development?

This ultimately goes back to why I came to Summit in the first place. I was a new teacher, and I wanted to be in a place where I would play an active role in my learning and development. Some of the best professional development that I have received has been as a result of working closely with my colleagues.  For the past two years, myself and another 9th grade history teacher would meet once a week and tackle unit plans, lesson plans, and talk about struggles we were having in our classrooms. Together, we constructed our understanding of the projects and practiced giving and receiving peer feedback. As a team, we designed a 9th grade curriculum that is stronger than it would have been if one of us was doing it on our own, and it opened a conversation for our whole course level team to move the curriculum forward. The norm at Summit is that we have much to learn from each other, and the instances of teacher-to-teacher collaboration is often where I find my most meaningful professional development.

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