Einstein Makes Middle School Personal
New Online Learning Platform “SUMMIT” Facilitates Personalized Learning
Einstein Charter Middle’s 120 seventh graders are fully immersed in the digital age as they start the 2017-2018 school year at Sarah Towles Reed in the Michoud area of eastern New Orleans.
Each student, equipped with their school-provided computer, will complete their assignments in English, math, science, Spanish and social studies without using one piece of paper. Instead, their textbooks, assignments, and tests are all online. As they interact with their classmates and teacher, they are able to apply their skills and pace of learning to an individualized program monitored by their classroom instructor.
It’s all made possible thanks to the introduction of an innovative California-based online learning platform called “SUMMIT.” Developed by teachers to facilitate personalized learning, the platform helps students connect their long-term goals to their daily actions and move at their own pace.
“We chose this program because we believe that every child has a gift,” said Einstein Charter School Chief Executive Officer Shawn Toranto. “We believe that SUMMIT will enable us to provide each child with a competitive education for the 21st century.”
SUMMIT teachers spend their time providing small group instruction, mentoring on a 1-1 basis and providing detailed feedback on assignments using SUMMIT’s 36 areas for college preparedness.
“I finally get to teach the way I envisioned,” said Aryn Bunch, a 7th grade language arts teacher. Ms. Bunch is one of 6 SUMMIT teachers at the school who traveled to San Francisco Bay over the summer to be trained at the SUMMIT Base Camp, funded in part by Facebook. SUMMIT at Einstein Charter Middle was made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant from New Schools for New Orleans and EducateNOW!
As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Math) school, Einstein Charter Middle provides advanced educational programs for K-10 grades, but the SUMMIT students will not get letter grades and instead be scored on mastery. “It is way hard, even from day one,” said a 7th grade student. “But I like that I get to choose what I work on.”
The school plans to expand the program next year to include 8th grade, based on a first-year success evaluation.
The program has high hopes, as 100 percent of all 7th graders signed up for this optional advanced program. “We are delighted to have every 7th grader opt in to this advance programing” said Einstein Charter Middle Principal Larisa Gray. “SUMMIT puts the student in the driver seat and we know this is how you succeed.”
Each Einstein SUMMIT student gets a laptop, paid home internet access, the provided online curriculum as well as an innovative work environment at school different from the traditional blackboard-teacher-desk setup. SUMMIT classes meet in groups to discuss projects and flip their chairs around to engage peers. “The goal here is flexibility,” said 7th grade social studies teacher Alondria Bowie.
Located in the East, Einstein Charter Middle School, part of the Einstein Charter Schools network, serves over 300 adolescents. About a third of its students receive ELL services. OPSB recently renewed its operational charter for an additional five years. For the past eight years, 100 percent of Einstein’s 8th grade students have passed Algebra I End-of-Course testing have passed the EOC for seven consecutive years.
Said CEO Shawn Toranto, “I could not be more proud of my Einstein Olympians for their success, but we are not finished yet. SUMMIT represents another step towards college and career readiness.”
For more information about Einstein Charter Schoool, go to: http://www.einsteincharter.org
For more information about SUMMIT, go to: https://www.summitlearning.org
PHOTOS: (To get photos in another format, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) ECM Summit 1 - Einstein Charter Middle 7th grade students (left to right) Legia Mejia-Espinoza, Jimmy Tran and Mighal Martinez work in Summit Basecamp during their Project 2 time in Social Studies.
ECM Summit 2 - Einstein Charter Middle faculty member (and Summit mentor) Emily Gollymer provides targeted support to 7th grade student Trent Duchane during Summit Math Project time. Summit mentors help students reflect on their challenges and successes so that they can learn from both.
ECM Summit 3 - Einstein Charter Middle faculty member Michelle Barconey encourages her 7th grade Summit students to use their Project time to collaborate with their peers on their upcoming assignment.
- Authorized by the Orleans Parish School Board, Einstein Charter Schools operates a group of consistently high performing, open admissions schools in New Orleans East. The Einstein Group, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, governs Einstein Charter Schools. The group recently received a $5 million High Quality Charter School Replication grant from United States Department of Education. We strongly encourage members from underrepresented groups to apply to join our community as teachers, administrators and students so that this program can serve all. Please note, all Einstein Charter Schools' facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities. We warmly welcome all to attend, including anyone who needs special accommodations. Please contact us at (504) 324-7459 with any specials needs. Einstein also recently received the 2015 COSEBOC School Award for Excellence and Leadership in Educating Boys of Color. Einstein has been repeatedly recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as a “Top Gains” and “High Performing, High Poverty” school and by the Orleans Parish School Board as a “Top Performing” school. Einstein recently expanded to the former Sarah Towles Reed campus to provide a middle and high school facility for 500 additional students. Einstein has one of the most diverse student bodies in the city and the largest English Language Learner (ELL) population, with 34 percent of its students in an ELL program