Success Story: Students Make New Gains as Pasadena District Grows Summit Learning Program

Setting the stage for students’ success in college and beyond has been Pasadena Independent School District’s (PISD) goal with implementing the Summit Learning instructional approach, which the district refers to as the Connect Program. In 2017–18, 7th and 8th grade students using the Connect Program made gains of 8% in math and about 19% in reading on the Texas STAAR assessment.

One of the first districts to join the Summit Learning Program in 2015-16, PISD began with three schools and 200 students. Now in its fourth year of using the model — which PISD refers to as the Connect Program — the district is reaching 6,500 students in 33 schools.

“As we continue to grow in our personalized learning journey, we are finding the balance between spending time on content knowledge, developing habits of success, and mastering cognitive skills,” says Deputy Superintendent of Academic Achievement Karen Hickman.

“Our partnership with Summit Learning allows us to continue to refine our practice.  Much like our expectations for our students, we too are always growing and learning.”

The embedded case study below showcases continued student growth in PISD for the 2017-18 school year:

This year, PISD is focused on continuing the intentional work that’s been done to grow the Program as students move up through middle and high school. Melissa Mccalla, Ed.D, a former PISD principal and now executive director of innovation and development for the district, names three key areas of focus for the district in 2018-19:

  • Engaging parents and community stakeholders through customized communication approaches
  • Building on the strong curriculum work that has already occurred to coordinate the horizontal and vertical alignment of Cognitive Skills and Content Knowledge to ensure students are prepared to demonstrate college-ready outcomes by 12th grade
  • Coordinating district-level support for campuses to ensure school leaders, coaches, and teachers have the tools and skills to support ALL learners

PISD plans to further expand the Connect Program to 8,000 students total in 47 schools by the 2019-20 school year.

Read and download PISD’s 2016-17 case study, spotlighting double-digit gains in math and reading on the STAAR assessment by grade 7 students.

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.