Case Study: Scores Rise and Discipline Drops at Handley Middle School


Handley Middle School’s leadership decided to implement the Summit Learning Program in 2016 as a holistic approach to personalized learning for students.

A rural, public middle school located in Roanoke, Alabama, Handley currently serves about 530 students in grades 4-8.

After one year of Summit Learning implementation across its 6th grade classrooms, Handley measured a 63% decrease in discipline referrals with this group of students compared to the previous school year. In addition, students’ outperformed their peers nationwide on the annual ACT Aspire tests, including by 28 points in writing.

The embedded case study below highlights student growth and engagement with the Summit Learning personalized approach to teaching and learning.

In addition to increased engagement in academics, Handley students are more comfortable setting goals and are thriving as self-directed learners. Teachers are also set up for and experiencing success in reaching the whole individual.

Dr. Kim Hendon, chief learning officer for Handley, says: “With Summit, you have time to set goals. You have time to pull individual groups. You have time to talk to kids one-on-one when they need it. All of that front loading that we used to spend hours doing is already done.”

Based on student success from 2016-17, Handley will be expanding the Program to its 7th and 8th grade classes in 2017-18 for a total of 450 students in the 6-8 grades.

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

About the author

Lauren Faggella
A storyteller and former educator, Lauren Faggella is dedicated to turning the Summit Learning community's stories and ideas into great content that informs and inspires a range of audiences. Prior to joining Summit Public Schools, Lauren was a professional freelance writer and third-grade teacher in Rhode Island. She earned her MEd from the University of Rhode Island and BA in English from Elon University.