Summit Prep

10 Oct, 2014



In 2003, Summit Public Schools’ flagship school, Summit Preparatory Charter High School (Summit Prep) in Redwood City, California began its first year of operation. The mission of Summit Prep is to prepare a diverse student population to be successful in four-year colleges or universities and to be thoughtful, contributing members of society. Today, the school serves more than 400 students.

Summit Prep serves students in Grades 9–12. Summit Prep is 53 percent Hispanic, 32 percent White, and 7 percent Asian. In 2013, close to 40 percent of students qualified for free and reduced meals. Since its founding, 96 percent of Summit Prep’s graduates have been accepted to at least one four-year college or university. Summit Prep is ranked first in the Bay Area and third in the state of California among schools serving students with disabilities according to the California 2012-2013 academic performance index scores and school rankings.

High community demand for seats at the school has led to the opening of more Summit schools across the Bay Area. Summit Public Schools’ first Grades 6–12 school opened its doors in 2013. Today, Summit Public Schools is a leading charter management organization serving the Bay Area’s diverse communities. Six schools serving 1,600 students are realizing the vision of Summit’s founders over a decade ago.

Summit Public Schools offer consistent organizational and instructional methods throughout its portfolio and will continue to grow and provide a high-quality public school option to more communities. It opened its seventh school in the Bay Area in the fall of 2014 and its first two schools in the state of Washington in 2015.



This case study focuses on the following areas that have been identified as key areas for consideration in the shift to implementing the Common Core State Standards.

1. Aligning the Curriculum and Instructional Practices to the Common Core State Standards

This section focuses on the key shifts in the academic program. Summit has focused on three key areas to support the transition to Common Core State Standards: assessments, instruction, and coherence. In addition to refining the curriculum and instructional strategies, Summit Public Schools have also made significant changes to its internal assessments.

2. Maximizing Resources Through District–Charter Collaboration

This section focuses on the Summer of Summit, a professional development program that brings Summit Public Schools’ educators together with other public school educators from charter and traditional schools to work collaboratively. Educators develop "playlists," or lessons, and other resources they can use in the classroom.

3. Selecting of the Best Common Core Resources

This section focuses on a software platform, Activate Instruction. The Summit Public Schools Model, tools, and all learning resources are also available to the public on this platform. Although Activate was not an outgrowth of the transition to the Common Core State Standards, Summit Public Schools has been able to leverage this resource to encourage stronger collaboration, innovation, and creativity among educators and those in other districts and states as a result of having the common language of the Common Core State Standards.

Tools and Resources

Common Core Case Study
This document provides an overview of Summit Public Schools and describes aligning internal assessments to the Common Core, maximizing resources through district-charter collaboration and selecting the best Common Core resources.

Elements of College Readiness Chart
This chart identifies the four elements of college readiness and provides brief descriptions of each.

Self-Paced Instruction Activation Tool
This document describes a strategy developed to help students direct their own learning and integrate curriculum, assessment and resources to aid self-paced progress.

Optimized Curriculum and Assessment Plan
This document outlines and describes key elements and approaches to assessment in the areas of learning categorized as Content Knowledge, Habits of Success, Cognitive Skills and Expeditions.

Summer Development Program Overview
This document provides an overview of Summit Public Schools summer 2013 program to support transition to an Optimized School Model, including work on curriculum, professional development, products and interaction with external partners.

Cognitive Skills Rubric
This document provides a grid that identifies a variety of skills and describes the level of skill required for advancement.