For more than two years, Summit Sierra (Washington’s first charter public high school) has had the privilege of calling the Chinatown-International District (CID) home. The community has made our students, families, and faculty feel welcome, as we provide this public school option to Seattle.
Just as the community has welcomed us with open arms, we hope to welcome the community into our home and provide a space for community meetings and gatherings. We have had the pleasure of hosting the Friends of Little Saigon’s festival and neighborhood and community meetings.
We have also engaged community organizations from the CID and surrounding areas in our Expeditions course program. During the school year, Summit Sierra students take four electives in two-week sessions, where they explore new or existing passions, such as culinary arts, drama, music, sports, student leadership, photography, and video and film production. We work with community partners like the Massive Monkees, a world famous break dancing crew, to develop expeditions. The lists of electives offered are driven by student interests, enabling students to explore their passions and obtain real-world experiences outside of their core subjects.
The cornerstone of Sierra’s curriculum is each student’s personalized learning plan. We develop a personalized learning plan with each student and their family. Each student can go at their own pace and learn the material at a very deep level, only progressing once they’ve shown competency in a subject. Personalized learning plans also allow teachers to provide the right support to students at the right time so each student is served in the best way possible and reaches his or her maximum potential. Also, these plans allow on-track students to take on more challenging coursework to keep them interested and engaged. In addition, each student is paired with a mentor, who helps them set short-term and long-term goals and check in on weekly progress.
Dedication to the communities and families we serve is the driving force of our students’ academic success. Summit Sierra students continue to grow academically, and our school communities are thriving. The CID has given our families and students a diverse place to learn and grow. It’s a place where diversity is celebrated and where each student that walks through our doors is paired with the tools to succeed in any pathway they choose after graduation. In partnership with the CID, our families and students we will continue to work to ensure equitable outcomes for all students.
We are excited to share the Summit Sierra community with more students in Seattle. Summit Sierra is currently enrolling 9th, 10th, and 11th graders for the 2017-18 school year. For more information on enrolling a student, visit summitps.org/schools/washington/summit-sierra.
— Malia Burns
Founding Principal and Executive Director