Closing the Opportunity Gap for Students with Disabilities at Snow Hill Middle School

In 2016, Snow Hill Middle School leadership saw evidence of an opportunity gap in its student test scores and promptly began looking for new strategies and tools to support its students, especially those with disabilities. Enter Summit Learning.

Former Snow Hill Middle School Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson heard about the Summit Learning personalized approach to teaching and learning at a conference and learned that the approach had helped many students—including those who were the furthest behind in grade-level standards—make significant gains.

Wilson recommended the approach to Snow Hill Middle School, which serves grades 4-8 in the school’s rural district of Snow Hill, Maryland. The school implemented Summit Learning during the 2016-17 school year with its 6th grade students. After seeing positive gains for students, the school expanded to 7th grade the following year and plans to further expand to 8th grade in the 2018-19 school year.

Snow Hill educators are enthusiastic about the gains they’ve seen, especially for students with Individualized Education Plans.

“Before Summit, there were times where the students with disabilities were doing what the other kids were doing. But there were a lot more times where they were not doing grade-level tasks. So, they were not being asked to complete things with the [same] rigor,” says Kara Casale, Special Education teacher at Snow Hill Middle School.

“Now, with Summit, they’re able to complete more of the grade-level standards, because of the choice they have on the [Summit Learning] Platform and the resources.”

From mastering note-taking to understanding which learning environments they learn best in, students are more prepared for to be successful learners. “With Summit, we’re providing them with tools and strategies they didn’t have before,” says Casale.

Recognition as a Summit Learning Spotlight School

Snow Hill Middle School was recognized as a 2017-18 Summit Learning Spotlight school for its fundamental commitment to meeting the needs of all students and intentional collaboration with the district and its community.

Snow Hill Middle School educators celebrate students’ achievements at end of year.

The school has worked with district leaders to build understanding of and support for the Summit Learning approach, adjusted teachers’ schedules to increase collaborative planning time, and increased professional development opportunities. To help parents understand the changes involved with Summit Learning, the administration held multiple community meetings that gave parents opportunities to learn and ask questions.

Since the school adopted Summit Learning, students have shown significant growth on state assessments and in developing Habits of Success that form the foundation for lifelong learning.

Snow Hill Middle School is truly creating a learning environment where every student can thrive.

This post is part of our Summit Learning Spotlight series. Follow the Summit Learning Spotlight tag to get the latest Spotlight school and teacher stories.

About the author

Summit Learning
Summit Learning is a research–based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student–teacher relationships that prepare students for life after graduation. Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is grounded in decades of research about how children learn. With Summit Learning, students gain mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science, while also carefully developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Summit Learning is independently led and operated by the nonprofit, Gradient Learning.