How I Supported My Son as He Joined Summit Learning

I have been a Summit Learning parent since July 2017. My son Kyle, who follows an Individualized Education Plan, just finished 4th grade and his first year of Summit Learning at Aspen Valley Preparatory Academy in Fresno, California.

Looking back to where we started a year ago at the beginning of the year, I had many questions about this new approach to learning. I will go further and admit I was very skeptical of it.

As we started our first year, I was worried the Summit Learning personalized approach to teaching and learning was too hard for my 4th grader, who was on an Individualized Education Plan for academic and behavioral issues. The fear of my son not passing 4th grade pushed me to overcome all my worry and to find a way to assist him through this transition.

I can now look back and say my son didn’t start off the year strongly but he ended it victoriously. You too may be overwhelmed and worried, so hopefully what worked for us will encourage you to follow through.

I am firm believer of: with resistance comes revelation. My son shut down and resisted the change of learning style that came with Summit Learning initially because he was so unfamiliar with the class format and self-direction in the classroom. But as he continued to try, he and I both found Summit Learning was not as hard as we thought.

The Journey

At the start of the year, I received many calls because of my son’s behavior. He was disruptive, argumentative, and not focused on his work. Looking back, I now know he was shutting down because he was overwhelmed with the changes in the way he was learning.

During this time, I was asked to attend a mandatory meeting for parents of children behind in their Focus Areas. I felt like I was failing, but many parents were there with me. After this meeting I began to read, take notes, and gather information about Summit Learning to help my child succeed. I started with the Summit Learning website and then found specific resources to support Kyle’s work within a special education program.

After reading and taking notes, I met with his school again, to see if his Individualized Learning Plan needed to be adjusted. I also changed my approach with my son. I found that a different type of schooling calls for a different type of parenting.

What Worked For Us

Knowing every child and parent is different, what worked for us may or may not work for others.

That is one of the things I love about Summit Learning. It focuses on your child individually and not just the classroom as whole. The program shines light on areas of strength and the need for extra support for every child.

I am confident that the little things listed below helped my son find his own path to success and they may help you, too.

That is one of the things I love about Summit Learning. It focuses on your child individually and not just the classroom as whole.

Give Positive Reinforcement

After the mandatory meeting at school, I came home and had a conversation with my son. A very real and sobering conversation.

Instead of telling him everything he was doing wrong, I told him everything he is: a strong young man, who is super smart, and capable of doing anything he sets his mind to.

Every day before I dropped him off, I reminded him he was strong, smart, and capable. I told him that as he worked through tough subjects, and when he wanted to quit. Though he was frustrated at times, these three words helped him reach his goals and believe in himself.

Reach for Help

When I met with the school’s Summit Learning teaching team, I received great feedback. I had felt concerned because Kyle’s personal learning plan on the Summit Learning Platform showed a lot of red areas, or areas of his studies that were not yet completed. His teachers reassured me that he was still on track and doing great, which relieved me of a lot of stress.

You are not alone in this journey. Do not feel afraid to reach for help. Ask questions and speak up. It was on Summit Learning’s site I discovered the possibilities and that the Program can assist my child who receives special education services to reach goals within his Individualized Education Plan.

Consistently Follow Up

This is where I struggled as a parent and had to overcome my own hurdles. Being employed full-time and raising a family is tough. However, I made the effort to follow up at home so that Kyle was successful at school.

Every day, I would have my son log into his view of his assignments and progress on the Summit Learning Platform so he could explain where he was at, show me what he needed to work on, and where he was successful.

This helped him stay accountable and encouraged him as he was excited to boast about his accomplishments.

Begin With the End in Mind

One of the mottos Aspen Valley Preparatory Academy focuses on is: Begin with the end in mind.

In the beginning of the school year, we had no idea what to expect but never lost sight of the end goal. As you walk through this journey with your student, I strongly encourage you to embrace the transition and find a way that works best.

The end is better than the start and remember: Nothing is impossible, for the word breaks down to: I’m Possible.

To see more resources for families with students in Summit Learning schools, visit Summit Families on the Summit Learning Blog.

About the author

Jessica Kincaid
Jessica is a devoted wife, dedicated mother, and hardworking employee for Fresno County Department of Social Services. She was first introduced to Summit Learning in 2017-2018 school year at Aspen Valley Preparatory Academy in Fresno, Calif. The initial introduction to Summit Learning was overwhelming as her son entered 4th grade on an Individualized Education Plan. However, she is now working with the school to showcase the greatness of the Summit Learning approach to new parents as she continues to help her son succeed.