Student Voice: 8 Tips for Success in Summit Learning

I’m Jayme Maurer, a 7th grader at Franklin Middle School and a second-year student in Summit Learning. Last year, I discovered quite a few tips and tricks to working with Summit Learning, and I hope by sharing the strategies that have made me a stronger student, I can help other students as well. Here are eight of my top tips for success as a Summit Learning student.

1. Believe You Are Prepared.

At my first few parent-teacher conferences during the year, the teacher showed my parents that I was behind in certain subjects.

This was mostly because I didn’t believe I was prepared to take my Social Studies tests at the time recommended by the by the Summit Learning Curriculum and encouraged by my teacher. Over the course of the year, I learned that I really was prepared to take those tests at the time Summit Learning suggested; I just had to gain confidence in myself.

2. Study When You Need To.

This is just what it sounds like — study when you need to. If you’re rocking it in all of your classes and have been doing your studying in class, then there may be no need to study at home. Take those nights to relax. On the other hand, if you have trouble in some classes because you’ve mastered the material, then study.

You should learn the information you need for the test and review the notes you took. I found that by taking the time to study at home, I was more prepared than if I reviewed only in class. This made it easier to pass tests and stay on track.

3. Use Your Class Time.

Teachers give time in class to study for your next test. Use that time to practice study strategies that your teacher or mentor have shown you throughout the year. They could just hand you a book and say, “Write an essay on Chapter 10,” but they don’t. Instead, they give you an opportunity to study with the tools that are most effective for how you like to learn. That means you can write an essay or do some simple notes. Use it or lose it.

Last year, I saw other students who didn’t use their time in class end up in summer school; since I value my summers, I have learned to use the time in class that I’m given.

4. Pay Attention.

Paying attention in class does pay off in the end. I found that even when it was tough to focus, pushing myself to pay attention helped me to understand the teacher’s lessons more thoroughly.

Last year, if I lost my focus I would miss key ideas, which sometimes made me fall behind. One time in math, I was distracted and missed an explanation of ratios. When I reached the test, I was not able to pass and fell behind. I spoke to my teacher and learned the information I missed, but it took me more time and work to pass than if I had been paying attention the first time.

5. Let Your Teacher Know When You’re Having Trouble.

Sometimes, learning a new topic can be confusing. If you don’t understand part of a project or topic, ask your teacher to explain. In Social Studies, I was having trouble understanding the lesson on ancient Rome. I let my teacher know that I was struggling and he held a workshop with me. Workshops are small group lessons with the teacher, who explains the details of the topic more deeply. Without speaking up, teachers didn’t know that I was having difficulties; when I did tell them, they really helped me.

6. Care About and Put Effort into Your Work.

If you show great effort and true appreciation for what you’re working on, this will prepare you to go to college and you’ll also be recognized for how hard you work.

The effort you put into your schoolwork shows how much you truly care about your future.

During the last year, I put effort into my school life, and now I often have people ask me if I want to go to college. It is exciting to have people recognize my effort and see me as someone that should go to college. It reminds me that the learning and work I put in now will pay off in the future.

7. Check Your Grades Often.

Checking your grades on the Summit Learning Platform will let you know what you need to work on and what you’re excelling at. I learned that I always have access to my grades and to check my grades frequently. When I didn’t check what I needed to improve on often enough, there was always a possibility that I could get a grade I didn’t want or plan for. When I made the commitment to check regularly, I found I could work on new things that challenged me and I improved my overall grades.

8. Have Fun with Summit Learning!

I’ve found that I and everyone in my class has a different way of enjoying learning. Some people want to write an essay, while others want to play a game or watch a video. Personally, I love being able to be hands-on in a lesson. I remember learning about cells in Science. There were videos, diagrams, and readings — but what stood out most was using a microscope to see the cells for myself. 

I hope my thoughts help students who are new to Summit Learning. When I first started Summit Learning, I found this demo of the student learning experience really helpful, and you might too. Thank you for reading this entry, and remember to have fun with Summit Learning this year!

Franklin Middle School was chosen as a 2018 Summit Learning Spotlight School. Learn more about how Jayme’s school is supporting its students and read other student experiences across the country on the Summit Learning Blog.

About the author

Jayme Maurer
Jayme Maurer is a 7th grade student at Franklin Middle School in Greeley, Colorado, currently in her second year of participating in the Summit Learning program. Her main interests are reading realistic and science fiction novels, and writing in hopes of becoming an author in the future. Outside of school, Jayme loves watching TV and spending time outside with her family. She is passionate about animals and cares for her two dogs, cat, fish, and lizard.