Alta Vista Alternative High School/La Cuesta Continuation High School

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Summit Learning

At both La Cuesta Continuation HS and the Alta Vista Independent Study program, we are proud to be implementing the Summit Learning Programs in most classes.  Based upon the successes we experienced after our first year of implementation at La Cuesta (during the 2017-2018 school year), we expanded the program to the Alta Vista Independent Study program beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.

Summit Learning's Vision: Summit Learning is a personalized approach to teaching and learning inspired by the vision to equip every student to lead a fulfilled life.*

*A life of wellbeing that is filled with purpose, financial independence, community, strong relationships and health.

Summit Learning combines core values, what science tells on how students learn best, and cutting-edge research into a school experience that is tailored to every community's needs.

The components of the Summit Learning student experience

  • One-on-one mentoring – Students meet one-on-one with their mentor–a teacher, or school administrator--at least once a week. Mentors get to know their students deeply and strive to support them as they develop their sense of purpose. Mentors also help students set both long-term and short-term goals and coach them through their progress. 
  • Projects – Students spend the majority of their time working on projects that allow them to apply knowledge, skills, and habits to real-world scenarios. Science, English and History courses are divided into a series of projects taught by subject teachers. Teachers facilitate discussions in the classroom, coach students in applying their cognitive skills, and give students feedback.
  • Self Direction – Students are guided through a learning cycle that fosters self-direction. They learn to set goals, select strategies, implement their plans, and reflect on the outcome to see if their plan worked. This cycle of learning can be applied to any task and is developed across all aspects of Summit Learning. Teachers and mentors work with students to provide individualized support. 


Students demonstrate proficiency in the following three outcomes

  • Cognitive Skills – Essential and transferable lifelong skills
  • Content Knowledge – Understanding and application of complex, challenging facts and concepts
  • Habits of Success – Mindsets and behaviors that support academic achievement and well-being
Based on Learning Science

Summit Learning was developed by Summit Public Schools over the course of 15 years, in partnership with nationally acclaimed learning scientists, researchers, and academics. 

Every single element of Summit Learning is grounded in what science tells us about how students learn best - from our student outcomes, to the design choices we made in order to achieve those outcomes.

Examples of collaborations with nationally acclaimed learning scientists, researchers, and academics from institutions include the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research, the Buck Institute of Education, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, among others. 

  • This community of partners is exploring Summit Learning and adapting it to meet the specific needs of their individual classrooms and schools. 
  • Summit is committed to meeting the demand from schools and educators for the Program. 

Summit Learning is a community of schools and teachers

Through the Summit Learning Program, more than 330 schools across the country are bringing this model to more than 54,000 students. The Program is free for any middle or high school and includes the Summit Learning Platform, teacher-developed curriculum and assessments, in-person professional development and training, and ongoing support and mentorship. 

This community of partners is exploring Summit Learning and adapting it to meet the specific needs of their individual classrooms and schools. Summit is committed to meeting the demand from schools and educators for the Program.

At La Cuesta and Alta Vista Independent Study, we greatly appreciate our partnership with Summit, the resources and ongoing professional development that they provide to us to benefit our students.