Middle school’s new model designed to help teachers teach

Published 12:48 pm Thursday, June 13, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Billy Harris
Guest columnist

There has been a great deal said lately regarding Lincoln County Middle School and the new learning platform (Summit Learning) that will be implemented across all grade levels in the 2019-20 school year.

My intention is to clarify the Summit Learning instructional model and why it will help our students achieve greater outcomes. The Summit Learning Platform was developed by teachers for teachers in partnership with nationally acclaimed researchers and scientists. The Summit Learning experience has three components:

Email newsletter signup

• A focus on teaching and learning through projects

Teachers are still actively teaching the content aligned with our state standards that we are bound by law to teach. Students are still actively engaged in conversations with teachers and students every day through every class.

Our teachers will continue to teach with purpose and passion. Project-based learning takes what the students learn and they then have to use their knowledge to produce a product. The products may be things like presentations to the class or a writing that could be published.

• A mentoring program for every student

During mentor time, students will have the opportunity to meet with a teacher to set academic goals for each one of their classes. This meeting time will also give the students a chance to build a trusting relationship with an adult at LCMS who will coach them through their personal goals and growth.

Mentoring is the weekly, one-on-one session between a student and one of their teachers. Together, the pair sets goals, determines strategies and reflects on successes and setbacks. The content of these mentoring conversations is generalized so that students can see how habits are supporting and hindering academic, extracurricular and personal success and any places where support is needed.

• A drive to equip students with the skills and habits associated with lifelong learning, such as self-direction

In addition to what is taught by teachers, students are also able to access additional learning resources, set goals and track their progress. This helps students build important habits that they will need to be successful beyond school.

These types of things are important to us as we mold and shape our students into college/career and citizenship readiness. This is the vision that our district and school has for all of our students.

As we move forward with implementation of Summit Learning, here are a couple of things to remember:

• Teachers are still teaching and students are still learning. The presence and expertise of a good teacher is irreplaceable in the classroom. Summit Learning does not replace teachers with technology. The platform is designed by educators as a tool to support great teaching and learning, enabling teachers to see exactly where students are in their learning in order to provide the right support. We like the platform because it gives us current, student specific, performance data every day. The platform also gives our teachers the capability to sort and organize student performance data at any moment. This helps teachers pinpoint specific needs of students and plan instruction to address the needs of all students.

• Projects and instruction drive student learning. Hands-on learning and instruction from teachers are the key components of time in the classroom. Student screen time will vary from class to class, just as it has varied while we have become 1:1 with Chromebooks. Summit Learning does not call for students to be working on a screen all day. Summit’s technology is not a replacement for the work of teachers but helps them build stronger relationships with their students.

I hope this clears up some misconceptions about Summit Learning and how it operates and will operate within our school. I can assure you that we will keep working with a growth and progressive mindset in order to make the education that students receive at Lincoln County Middle School the best possible.

As always, if you have questions or concerns you may visit our website to watch some informational videos on Summit Learning; or you can call (606) 365-8400 or email me.

Billy Harris is principal at Lincoln County Middle School.