Pathways to Success
Exploring the Long-term Outcomes of Alumni from Summit Public Schools
At Summit, our real measure of success is what our students experience in life, after graduation. Our most recent report, “Pathways to Success: Exploring the Long-term Outcomes of Alumni from Summit Public Schools,” looks at the well-being of our graduates according to five dimensions: purpose, financial independence, community, strong relationships, and health.
“Pathways to Success” is the largest study on alumni outcomes at Summit to date and our first attempt to directly measure our intended outcomes for all students. The findings are overwhelmingly positive and highlight the value of Summit’s model in preparing students from diverse backgrounds to achieve success in college, career, and life. The data also inspires us to continuously improve so that we can move future generations of learners toward lives of fulfillment.
We invite you to take a look at highlights from our study below and explore the full report. With student and alumni feedback guiding our efforts, our schools will continue to work hard towards achieving a reality in which all students are prepared to lead a happy and fulfilled life.
Pathways to Success Highlights
“Pathways to Success” reveals that over 77% of Summit alumni respondents are fulfilled in at least four out of five dimensions of well-being, with the highest level of fulfillment in the area of “Strong Relationships” (94%) and lowest in “Financial Independence” (68%). Take a look at additional key findings we learned from Summit alumni:
- 71.7% of Summit alumni respondents report high levels of overall well-being, as indicated by positive scores on the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).
- 77.2% of respondents are fulfilled in at least four out of five dimensions of well-being outlined in the Summit vision statement, ranging from 94% reporting fulfillment in “Strong Relationships” to 68% reporting fulfillment in “Financial Independence.”
- 54.8% of alumni in the classes of 2007-2014 have completed a Bachelor’s Degree to date, a rate almost 2x the national average for adults over age 18 in the United States.
- 92.2% of respondents are currently working or in school. Of alumni from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds who are working full-time, 46.5% now make more than $60,000 a year.
Which elements of Summit’s model have been the difference makers for alumni in adulthood? Through this research, we heard that alumni identify mentorship and the overall sense of community fostered by teachers and mentors as far and away the most impactful part of the Summit experience. Further, Summit’s Expeditions program, which enables students to explore their interests outside of traditional academic content areas, was also highly impactful for alumni.
While findings from “Pathways to Success” show a significant proportion of Summit alumni have achieved success after high school, the data also helps us better understand the barriers that exist for some alumni. Alumni shared that the most common challenges they faced after high school were financial issues (40%) and mental health issues (37%). These challenges illustrate the critical importance of two Summit key student outcomes: Concrete Next Step and Habits of Success. As these outcomes were introduced in 2019 and 2012, most of the alumni in our study would not have heard these terms.
Today, Summit schools are already working to support students in planning for a strong path after high school, or what we call a Concrete Next Step, and develop the social and emotional skills represented by Habits of Success. Alumni voices only strengthen these efforts and allow us to make targeted improvements for future graduates. We invite you to review the full report (Accessible Version Google Doc) to learn more about our commitment to continuous improvement of our schools.
In their own words, how do Summit alumni feel prepared for life?
“I really appreciate that I always felt known at Summit and I always felt encouraged. And that I was seen as someone outside of my grades… So that prepared me for college too. I never went into college stressed about my GPA or about extracurriculars or like resume stuff. I definitely grew to be more aware that they are important, but I definitely came into college knowing that there was more to college than just like grades, that I should make friends, I should find my community. Make it small. You know, kind of make this giant campus smaller and to be creative with how I problem solved and who I was. That was very helpful and I know a lot of us at Summit we stay connected to each other. We appreciate the ways in which our time in high school helped us in those areas for sure.”
“Summit has shaped how I think about happiness and life by teaching me to be open to learning and open minded generally. I was in a closed mindset when I started at Summit but learning happens in so many different ways. And, Summit helped me build relationships by being a small, diverse school. As a Marine, building relationships and community is really important. I meet people from all over and I can connect with anyone. I value being in a community which is enriched by diversity.”