What should I expect as a teacher?

What’s does a school schedule look like? What is the difference between project time, mentor time, and personalized learning time?

Project time: At Summit, our educational approach uses project-based learning in the classroom. Each teacher facilitates two to four sections of “project time” per day— when students are going to history class for example. Teachers have an average of twelve sections a week, which last 90 minutes (in high schools) or 18 sections a week, which last 55 minutes (in middle schools).

Mentor time: Teachers have 50-minute daily check-ins with their whole mentor group, usually at the end of the day. Additionally, they have 90-minute sections on Habits of Success with their full mentor group once a week. Teachers utilize a framework called Building Blocks for Learning as a structural model for teaching habits. While we utilize this framework, we also value the flexibility to have conversations around topics that are important and/or culturally relevant to students (e.g. views on political elections).

Self Directed Learning Time (SDL): Students work on curated content playlists that are designed by teachers. This approach allows students to show mastery of content through a 10-question multiple choice assessment. Students have control over the timeline and pace of SDL, along with the sequence in which they learn specific content. Students can also take a diagnostic before the content assessment in order to better understand which topics they need to study further. Mentors check in with their students to see how they’re progressing toward completing checkpoints, short- and long-term goals, and projects.

What does professional development look like at Summit?

Summit offers strong support for our teachers’ professional development (PD). The structure for teacher PD varies from site to site, but you can expect weekly coaching sessions with a school leader, 40 days of dedicated PD time throughout the year, and weekly collaboration time with your grade-level and course-level teams. About half of PD time is determined by organization-wide or site-specific priorities, while the other half is self-directed and allows time to work on personal professional priorities.

How do teachers collaborate at Summit?

Summit teachers have many opportunities to collaborate as a team. Each week, Summit teachers meet with their full faculty in “Leadership Team” meetings, where they collaborate around school-wide initiatives, culture, and community. They also alternate each weekly meeting with their grade-level teams and course-level teams. Course-level teams consist of every Summit teacher teaching AP Environmental Science, for example. These meetings occur via video conference and allow teachers teaching the same curriculum at different schools to share best practices, leverage each other’s resources, and share challenges and successes.

What does a typical day look like for a Summit teacher?

Step into our classroom and learn more about the parts of a regular day of instruction by watching this video, Personalized Learning at Summit Public Schools:

You can see a sample schedule of a Summit teacher here. (Download a PDF file on a new tab)

Curriculum: Summit’s curriculum is grounded in what science tells us about how students learn best. As a teacher, you’ll use Summit’s project-based curriculum and have opportunities to creatively differentiate for and engage each student. Learn more and explore the curriculum online. (This link opens a new tab.)

What are Summit schools like?

We are 15 schools in California and Washington state, serving an incredibly diverse population of over 4,500 students from all different backgrounds.

From the beginning, Summit schools have been diverse by design. We recognize that kids do better in diverse environments. Our students work together and collaborate, and everyone is held to the same high expectations; this helps our students form community and belonging.


Diversity of Students

What is Summit Learning?

Summit Learning is our approach to teaching and learning and the foundation of Summit Public Schools’ 15 years of success. This instructional approach is based on collaborations with nationally-acclaimed learning scientists, researchers, and academics from higher-education institutions, including the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research, the Learning Policy Institute, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, among others.

Every element of Summit Learning is grounded in what science tells us about how students learn best— from our student outcomes to the design choices we made in order to achieve those outcomes.

In order to fulfill our vision for students, the Summit Public Schools approach to teaching and learning is based on developing four key student outcomes: Cognitive Skills, Content Knowledge, Habits of Success, and Concrete Next Step.

If you’re interested in learning more about the research that underpins the Summit Learning approach, we encourage you to learn more about the Summit experience.