Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Kettle Moraine choose Summit Learning?
The Kettle Moraine School District is committed to improving the educational delivery system in order to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of each individual student. Through a personalized learning approach, we are equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in their future. We believe that the Summit Learning tool supports our personalized learning approach and the development of the skills outlined in our Graduate Profile. It provides an opportunity for students to grow in their ownership of learning through individual goal-setting. Students have the ability to work at a customized pace and choose different ways to learn within the platform. Teachers receive just-in-time data on student progress, so they can support each individual student with his/her learning needs.
How does the Summit Learning Platform support classroom instruction?
The Summit Learning Platform is an instructional tool intended to complement and support face-to-face instruction and learning in the classroom. It houses student work in an organized fashion, provides two-way communication between the teacher and student on student work, and provides access to student progress and growth on cognitive skills and content learning. Teachers help students set short-term and long-term goals on the student goals page and utilize the progress page for recording mentoring notes from mentoring sessions. Below we list some key benefits:
It provides learners:
- Access to their work outside of the classroom (anytime, anywhere learning). This is similar to other digital tools students in Kettle Moraine use.
- A place to house all of their work - so they don’t have to see it out in multiple digital spaces. This leads to greater organization by the learner.
- Playlists with resources to support the content learning happening in the classroom
- Choice in the type of work (mild/medium/spicy) to support a learner’s skill set
- Varied pace of learning within focus areas
- Access to real-time progress of where a learner is at and where they are headed. This information helps to support the goal-setting process.
- A personal weekly goal-setting page for setting short-term and long-term goals with the support of their teachers and mentor
- The ability to see their progress (feedback) and grades in one location
- A continuous feedback loop and continued conversations with their teacher. Learners utilize the feedback provided by their teacher to improve their work.
It provides teachers:
- Access to real-time data to support learning within projects and focus areas. This data informs all teacher instructional planning to determine what happens during in class instruction, and may include but not be limited to:
- whole class lessons
- small group workshops
- small group lessons during PLT
- Access to grade level data to plan and provide more intentional interventions and supports for different groups of learners that may need more challenge or greater support
- An opportunity to collaborate with other teachers to better serve the needs of all learners
- A continuous feedback loop and formative feedback conversation with learners, focused on growth and progress. Teachers are able to provide clear, targeted feedback to support learning and growth.
- Access to all learner work in the formative stage to gauge where learners are at and provide feedback at any stage of the learning process
- The ability to support learners across their day in other classes (It provides us a window into what happens in each of the core content areas.)
- A place to add progress and mentoring notes for clear communication with families and mentees
With all the personalized, computer-based learning, where are the human connections?
The Summit Learning Platform has not replaced the educator teaching his/her class. This instructional tool is intended to support the daily instruction provided by teachers and allows for students to set goals, complete work (and get feedback on it) within projects in class, and advance at their own pace within their focus areas (homework). Mentoring is an important opportunity for each student to have his/her work and progress reviewed. Students will spend more time at home on the computer, as there are few homework assignments that go home for completion on paper.
In the past and when operating without the support of the platform, teachers have not been able to engage all students in setting goals. They were not able to monitor progress as dynamically as with the platform, and they were not able to determine the level of performance or understanding in the same detailed manner. Our teachers are providing structured guidance and scaffolding to all students, not just those who are at risk of academic failure. The platform allows for learners to have a clear picture of their progress rather than the teacher being the sole “keeper of the data.” This empowers our students in their understanding and ownership of their learning. Our teachers are dedicated and devoted, which is why they chose this platform as they saw the advantages of using it to support them in meeting the needs, academic and social-emotional, of all students.
How is the Summit Learning approach different from Create?
There are key differences between the Create house approach and what is happening in the Navigate Houses. Create is multi-age, interdisciplinary (where projects and seminars combine different subjects), and more variable, with students selecting and sometimes creating seminars that begin and end within 6 to 9 week time frames throughout the year. Within the Navigate House structure there are fewer places where interdisciplinary projects are in place. Due to the flexibility of the Summit Learning platform, several interdisciplinary units are being designed for use in 2018-19.
How much screen time is happening during the school day?
Our research in recent school years found that the use of computers in out school was similar in different environments. In Math and STEM, computers are used as needed to access online learning tools (such as ALEKS, computer programming resources or others) and when students are provided opportunities to work on focus areas during Self Directed Learning (SDL) Time portion of that class. In Literacy, screen time increases while devices are being utilized for writing and research.
What does Math class look like?
There is still much discussion about concepts and problem solving during class. This occurs through small group work led by a teacher or through problem-solving activities. Students will move onto more advanced but related topics in 7th or 8th grade if data suggests they are ready for that material.
Students can "reassess" in Summit. Please explain.
Reassessment is not unique to Summit Learning. Since 2001 the district has been committed to a balanced approach to assessment, where learners are focused on proving their learning rather than just earning a grade. The learning expectations of a student need to be fixed, recognizing that the amount of time required to demonstrate that learning may vary, based upon the individual student. This work stems from criticism that schools were engaged in social promotion. For example, students were being passed along in the system of education without being able to demonstrate their mastery of core concepts, skills, and dispositions. The research of Black and Wiliam, the meta-analysis of John Hattie and the work of many others document the importance of reassessment if we want our students to have the ability to demonstrate proficiency in their learning, rather than just moving through a system.
This is a practice that businesses employ. There are many times in the world of work when people "go back to the drawing board" in order to get a concept, proposal, or design to the level where it is adequate. If we as a district want all children to learn and demonstrate growth over time, if we avoid social promotion, if we hold that there are standards that all students need to demonstrate, then we need to engage in reassessment. Students will not advance without demonstrating their proficiency in their learning targets. This policy is in place district-wide and has been for several years.
What student data is being shared with Summit Learning?
Student data privacy is a primary concern to the Kettle Moraine School District. We require vendors to adhere to our privacy policies, which requires an annual review of the vendor’s privacy policies (see below). We do not provide the Summit Learning Platform with any information beyond student name, email address and ID number, which is data available to the public according to State of Wisconsin public records law. No student grades, attendance, standardized test scores or other personal data are sent from the district to Summit. We limit the information that we share. We do not share data with Summit or any other vendor that would put student privacy at risk.
Summit has strong policies and practices to protect student information.
- Student information is used only for educational purposes - to support schools in their mission to help students succeed.
- Students’ information is safe. All of the personal information students share (or that is provided about them by their school) is used only for educational purposes. Schools, students, and families own and control their personal information and can request deletion of personal student information at any time.
- Schools, teachers, and/or students own and control the information provided to Summit and do so in a manner that is consistent with FERPA
- Summit goes above and beyond legal compliance. Summit is a signatory to the Future of Privacy Forum's Student Privacy Pledge and follows the set of principles established to safeguard student privacy, including responsible stewardship, protection, and transparent handling of student information.
- In addition, Summit voluntarily complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). While COPPA does not apply to nonprofits, Summit voluntarily embraced COPPA requirements to provide increased transparency to parents.
- Summit will never sell student information and does not profit from schools, teachers and students. Not only is Summit absolutely opposed to using student information in this way, as a nonprofit public-school network, there is no reason for them to do so.