Success Story: Prairie Heights Middle School State Assessments Show Dramatic Rise in English, Math

Prairie Heights Middle School is preparing students for success in a constantly changing world by encouraging personal excellence, creativity, and critical thinking skills in all of their students. Prairie Heights Middle School serves grades 6-8 in Greeley, Colorado. All 6th-8th grade students participate in the Summit Learning Program.

As a part of the Innovation Initiative, Prairie Heights Middle School implemented the Summit Learning teaching and learning model in 2017. This model is grounded in deepening student engagement through meaningful learning, and includes a focus on projects and an understanding of how learning relates to life outside of academics. Since implementing Summit Learning, Prairie Heights Middle School has seen measurable success including improved state performance rankings, increased test scores, and decreased discipline referrals.

Prairie Heights’ School Performance Rating from the Colorado Department of Education rose from the second-lowest-ranked framework to the highest-rated ranking after the first year of implementation. This is an increase of 26.7 percentage points on the Colorado Department of Education’s school performance framework. This upward trajectory is expected to continue as PHMS continues to carry out its Innovation plan.

Flying to New Heights

According to Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessments, PHMS student achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math has soared since starting Summit Learning. In 2017, students showed growth below district and state averages, but after adopting the program, the school has risen above both the state and district averages. Prairie Heights’ median growth percentile in ELA has increased by 21 points since 2017, and similar success can be seen in Math scores with an increase of 25 points.

“There is no comparison with Prairie Heights and the Summit Learning program. This program truly teaches self-directed learning and gives the students a great guide into what the real world is like. We love it!”

Maggie Matthews, mother of a 7th-grade student at PHMS

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.