Case Study: Summit Learning Boosts Distinctive Schools’ Student Growth

When faculty at Distinctive Schools sought a personalized learning program to boost student achievement they turned to Summit Learning because of its focus on project-based learning and mentoring.

Part of Chicago Public Schools, Distinctive Schools is a non-profit School Management Organization encompassing four campuses of Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) — CICS Bucktown, CICS Irving ParkCICS Prairie, and CICS West Belden. Distinctive Schools implemented the Summit Learning Program across all four campuses in the 2016-17 school year with 675 students in grades 6-8.

In just one year using the personalized learning approach, students showed growth on NWEA MAP math and reading tests. The percentage of students at or above the 50th percentile increased by seven points in math and six points in reading in 2017 compared to 2016.

The embedded case study below highlights student growth at Distinctive Schools since implementing the Summit Learning Program.

Year-over-year academic growth is just one positive effect Distinctive faculty has witnessed since implementing Summit Learning.

“Teachers are seeing kids become the owners of their own learning,” says Connie Scalzetti, instructional coach at CICS West Belden. “They’re seeing it both in the test results but also who their students are as people.”

What’s next for Distinctive Schools? Now that they’ve seen student growth in just one year, Distinctive educators desire sustained growth on state assessments throughout students’ entire education as well as the development of lifelong Habits of Success. To that end, the organization expanded Summit Learning to two additional grade levels this school year, adding more than 100 students to the Program.

This post is part of series of case studies highlighting a variety of schools currently implementing the Summit Learning approach.

About the author

Katie McNeil
Katie is a storyteller at Summit Public Schools, shining a spotlight on inspirational stories from the Summit Learning community. She started her career in journalism, covering K-12 education in the Bronx. Katie won a feature writing award from the Education Writers Association for her higher ed coverage in Utah. Before arriving at Summit, she earned a master's degree in educational technology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a New York State teaching certification.