The Peak of Learning

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By Chloe Jones

            On Jan 29, 2019, over 30 students headed outside instead of heading to class. The students held signs that read “summit suckz,” chanted “no summit, no summit, no summit,” and stayed outside making these signs for hours. This event caught the attention of the school district, which is currently re-evaluating Summit Learning. 

            There have been many displeased students and parents at McPherson Middle School (MMS) due to a new program called Summit Learning. This program, which promises “It is a way for students to unlock the power within themselves to live fulfilled and successful lives,” has even lead to student lead walkouts. The main problem, according to students, is that teachers are being replaced with computers, and the students don’t like the self-teaching method.  

             Colin Grieb, a student at MMS, had something to say about Summit Learning. “We can’t just teach ourselves everything on the computer, that’s what teachers are for.” He is concerned that if Summit Learning does not go away soon, he may fail classes this year and end up behind in his schooling. The program has left him feeling powerless when it comes to his education, and frustrated that there is little he can do to stop it. 

            Bev Nye, a sixth grade English Language Arts teacher, had something different to say. Initially, there were issues with the program, but as Ms. Nye explained, that is to be expected with something new in the classroom. “We’re learning it as we go,” she said. They had little to no knowledge of how to use Summit Learning in the beginning, but now that she’s used to it, Ms. Nye likes the program. 

            Ms. Nye says that Summit Learning works for her. The students can view their full class schedule and assignment due dates all in one place. There are three different types of assignments, one of which includes a playlist of learning materials for the unit. The other two types are self-guided and self-paced. Students can work ahead on assignments, and in the third type of assignment, students can even do extra practice and material relating to the course content. “I still teach the same way I used to,” she said. Even though the students’ assignments are online, she is still giving them the same education as she was before. The students, however, remain displeased and are left to keep using this platform until at least mid-April of this year.